Comments

  1. Marti Reed says

    Apparently JD has started a new chapter. Chapter XIII.

    http://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xiii/

    I’ve been hassling with Photoshop issues the past few days, while editing two days worth of photos I took two weeks ago at the Valles Caldera in New Mexico. And moving the stuff out of my mom’s apartment by Friday. So a bit in and out. And slow on my email.

    So I guess we need to transport our on-going conversations to the new chapter.

  2. Bob Powers says

    I see in the Prescott Dailey Courier that they have extended the Hearing to another 30 days for the 2 parities to get more information and then reconvene.

    Sounds like they are still in some dead lock over the issues. More legal mumbo jumbo.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      The article is here…

      The Prescott Daily Courier
      Article: Attorneys seek more time to resolve Yarnell Hill Fire case
      Published 3/9/2015 5:40:00 PM – by The Associated Press

      http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1087&ArticleID=142740

      From the article…
      ————————————————————————
      PRESCOTT – Attorneys in a lawsuit stemming from the deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona say they need more time to try to negotiate a settlement with the state.

      They asked a federal judge Monday, March 9, to put the case on hold for another 30 days. They say substantial progress has been made toward resolving the wrongful-death case.

      U.S. District Judge John Tuchi had granted a previous request for a stay so that the two sides could participate in mediation. He asked for an update Monday.

      Attorneys for the firefighters’ families say any settlement also could include Arizona’s workplace safety agency.

      The state Forestry Division is contesting citations and fines imposed by the agency for the June 2013 deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. A July 8 hearing is scheduled in that case.
      ————————————————————————

      I think this more than likely has EVERYTHING to do with Brendan McDonough blowing off his under-oath deposition for the SECOND time.

      I will bet a dollar to a sawbuck that the Arizona Forestry lawyers really, really do NOT want to have to walk into ANY ‘settlement’ situation where there’s a good chance the opposition knows what Brendan McDonough actually knows… but THEY do NOT.

      That really is a ‘nightmare scenario’ for attorneys and they will seek to avoid it as much as they can… for as LONG as they can… until they can get McDonough in a room ( under-oath ) and find out for themselves what he REALLY knows.

      There are still these ‘rumors’ that Brendan has, somehow, told what he knows to a ‘select’ (small) group of people… including some ‘Prescott Oficials’ ( Darrell Willis? John Paladini? ) and (perhaps) some select family members.

      So there is every chance that the lawyers for the “wrongful death” plaintiffs have the same knowledge.

      I don’t think the attorneys want to even ‘get in the room’ with those other attorneys if there’s even the slightest chance that is true.

      There is still also this mysterious ‘other video’ that only few people have seen.

      Rinse and repeat for that.

      The Arizona Forestry Attorneys do NOT want to ‘get into the room’ with anyone who might have seen/heard this mysterious ‘other video’… when THEY have NOT.

      We shall see.

      I wonder WHY Brendan McDonough backed out of his under-oath deposition for the SECOND time? If he really does want to FINALLY ‘tell the whole truth’ and ‘get this off his chest’… I would think he would have WANTED to go through with it.

      Maybe his new criminal attorney ( David Shapiro ) of Prescott is actually advising Brendan now that regardless of how anxious he is to get something ‘off his chest’… that even Brendan should ‘hold out’ and wait for the results of the ‘Mediation’.

      If ALL the legal actions get settled… ( Wrongful Death, AZF vs. ADOSH ) then maybe Shapiro is still telling Brendan he could get what he originally wanted. It all ‘goes away’ and Brendan never has to fully tell the truth about what he knows.

      OR… maybe it’s a lot more mundane than that.

      Shapiro’s case load was the reason Brendan had to ‘back out’ of his originally scheduled under-oath deposition back on November 26, 2014.

      Maybe Shapiro’s scheduled was the culprit once again… and Shapiro was once again the one who couldn’t ‘make’ the scheduled February 26, 2015 deposition.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        I DO find it more than odd that it is OBVIOUS the Prescott Daily Courier is following all of this very closely ( and they have direct/fast access to ALL court documents being filed )… but there has never been ANY mention in ANY article that according to those SAME court documents they depend on for information… the KEY witness in the Incident has already said he never told “the whole truth” and now he wants to “get that off his chest”.

        I would think the fact that the Arizona Attorney General’s office ( legal counsel for Arizona Forestry ) was SO convinced this is a FACT that they legally ( and publicly ) requested Administrative Law Judge Michael A. Mosesso to issue a no-shit SUBPOENA to FORCE Brendan to testify about what they are SURE he has already told at least ‘Some Prescott City Officials’ ( Willis? Paladini? Both? ).

        Once that ‘request for subpoena’ was filed… I would have thought that was a ‘news worthy’ even in this continuing drama.

        But no one has ‘printed’ a word about that… or the now additional drama that the same reason the Arizona State Attorney General’s lawyers WANTED that subpoena to be issued has actually come true.

        Brendan ‘blew off’ the scheduled under-oath deposition.

        For the SECOND time.

        At some point… this little ‘drama within the the drama’ is GOING to rise to being MSM ‘newsworthy’ all by itself.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Another article appeared in the Prescott Daily Courier this morning…

        The Prescott Daily Courier
        PREPARING for BATTLE
        Wildfire academy draws 800 firefighters to Prescott this week
        Published 3/9/2015 9:49:00 PM by Joanna Dodder Nellans

        http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=142764

        From the article…
        ————————————————————————-
        More than 800 wildland firefighters and instructors are converging on Prescott this week for the 13th annual Arizona Wildfire and Incident Management Academy.

        This year it is getting somewhat back to normal, without numerous special events honoring the (Granite Mountain) hotshots.

        Last year the (Granite Mountain) hotshots were given the academy’s Herb McElwee Loyalty Award for volunteering many hours at the academy. Another Yarnell Hill hero,

        Central Yavapai Fire District Training Officer Gary Cordes, received the academy’s Firefighter of the Year award for helping to rescue Yarnell residents.
        ————————————————————————-

        The THEME for this year’s academy is…

        “Successes in Leadership.”

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Whoops… I messed up the ‘cut and paste’ above and split a paragraph
          in the wrong place.

          That last paragraph from the article above should have read like this…

          Another Yarnell Hill hero, Central Yavapai Fire District Training Officer Gary Cordes, received the academy’s Firefighter of the Year award for helping to rescue Yarnell residents.

          • Bob Powers says

            My bet is they want to go to Court and put it on record.
            Deposition can be messy and may not get all the facts a
            defense and state attorney could get with cross.
            The Family’s may want it in court proceedings records.
            Just some Thoughts???????????

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Bob Powers post on March 10, 2015 at 8:27 am

      >> Bob Powers said…
      >>
      >> I see in the Prescott Dailey Courier that they have extended the Hearing to
      >> another 30 days for the 2 parities to get more information and then reconvene.
      >>
      >> Sounds like they are still in some dead lock over the issues.
      >> More legal mumbo jumbo.

      That article is still HERE…

      The Prescott Daily Courier
      Article: Attorneys seek more time to resolve Yarnell Hill Fire case
      Published 3/9/2015 5:40:00 PM – by The Associated Press

      http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1087&ArticleID=142740

      …and now it has some PUBLIC comments on it.

      The very FIRST comment was the following, and it mentions THIS
      ongoing discussion here at InvestigativeMEDIA…
      ——————————————————————————-
      Noel Breen · Top Commenter
      It’s great to see that this matter might be resolved without a protracted legal battle. On the other hand a settlement without some real accounting of what happened in Yarnell would be a shame. The award winning journalist John Dougherty and others have done a masterful job in adding to this needed public record. It’s a must read for those seeking the truth. http://www.investigativemedia.com/
      ——————————————————————————-

  3. Elizabeth says

    Thirtymile fire: Did any of you ever pay attention to the explanation of why the Thirtymile fire moved the way that it did (e.g. the fire behavior) in the minutes leading up to the burn over and tragedies?

    My impression is that looking at that fire behavior might be interesting to some of you. (It certainly was to me.)

    • rocksteady says

      Yep, read teh 24 hour report, the 72 hour, teh final report, as well as the book.

      Again, it reads back to the same common mistakes that usually occur in all death related fires.

      Lack of situational awareness, based on terrain, fire weather, fire behaviour potential and poor communications from the Incident command group.

      Those people should never been given teh assignment up at the head of the draw, based on the fire behaviour potential, terrain (timbered canyon) with no anchor points or escape routes.

      Similar factors to the Mann Gulch, StormKing, Esperanza, Need I name more???

  4. SR says

    Rocksteady had said “The next morning, I fired up my computer, gathered weather forecasts and weather readings from the internet from the Weather Channel or some such site, opened up my behaviour prediction software, entered some data (real readings from the local area , made a few assumptions (about 10, 100 hr fuels) and generated some rates of spread predictions. Then I took and changed the wind speed ONLY at 10 mph incriments. I reported all of this info on IM about how many chains per hour teh little black box was predicting spread. It took me no more than 15 minutes..” I think this underscores the fact that, counter to what “some people” keep trying to assert, the weather wasn’t unusual and in fact the fire behavior that resulted, given the weather, wasn’t unusual.

    One extension of this point, imo, that bears keeping in mind is that, with that easily available, easily generated set of inputs and outputs, you can then easily model a slow bushwhack and see, on a simple Excel spreadsheet, how common burnovers would be if people routinely engaged in prolonged bushwhacks through dense brush in these situations. The rare event here isn’t the weather and isn’t the behavior of the fire. The rare event was entirely under volitional human control.

    • Marti Reed says

      I completely agree.

      And still.

      I have to say, in all honesty.

      I really really am waiting, with some baited breath, for the day/days I discover, via Google or whatever, some of the more refined analyses that I think are in the works, of the Yarnell fire.

      As much as I write about how relatively predictable, on the larger scale, this fire was……….and enough so that it should have been self-evident that anybody in charge of anybody else on this fire should have been pulling their forces SAFELY off of it WAY before they did………..

      Every time I watch the Air 2 Air videos, I am stunned. I don’t even have words to describe it, beyond, yeah, a rotating, lifting-way-up-high and then bending-over, flashing, horrifically beautiful, fascinating, tornado-like, potentially double-columned, incredibly powerful 3ish-hour-long (which is not all that long compared to some of the stuff I’ve seen) dynamo.

      I just have to add credit where credit is due.

      • Billy Jack says

        Marti:

        I wouldn’t wait with baited breath for the so called experts to explain anything.
        You yourself have the tools and the cognition and the ability to figure out what
        happened at Yarnell.

        It all begins with the stars and stripes. Take a good look at the 72 second Youtube video:

        “Yarnell Hills Fire Video Sund 1245pm”

        which was uploaded the day of the tragedy.

        The beginning of the video shows the little white house with utility pole out front and the shed along side. You can pick the house out in the Google Earth imagery; and you can pick the flagpole off in the street view. Once you know approximately where the flagpole is, you can go back to the Google Earth nadir view (straight down) to locate where the pole’s shadow pierces the earth. Likewise for the utility pole. So you can develop exactly where the videographer was standing, and establish an azimuth view vector for the camera, etc.

        The flag of course indicates the speed and direction of the surface wind; at the flag’s height; at the location of the flagpole.

        The wind direction is attained in a pretty straightforward fashion, after a simple geometric layout, because the flag moves directly toward the observer. Then use your wind reading skills (Beaufort scale) to estimate the wind speed from how the flag waves and stands.

        It’s pretty crucial to get the speed right; so relax and take your time; experiment if you have to. Take a week, take a month; or don’t even try. This is not an inquisition. If possible, post your numbers back online whenever and I will be very happy to compare and respond, and relate several different ways to verify your observation.

        Reading this flag right is the first step of many towards explaining what happened to Granite four hours later. Observations don’t mean anything unless they can be verified; independent of time and space. I think that defines “science”. And so to begin, hopefully your science about some stars and stripes can verify mine. Thank you; Billy.

          • Marti Reed says

            I had seen this video before, and had put it in my Yarnell playlist.

            It shows how hard the fire (under the wind from the southwest) is burning towards Peeples Valley at 12:45 PM. Which is, also, why Peeples Valley was being evacuated at that time. Even though, as it later turned out, since the predicted thunderstorm had its predicted influence on the fire, Peeples Valley was spared.

            That’s around the time B3 was flying their recon and realizing that thunderstorms would arrive in that afternoon and push the fire uphill and towards the southwest, i.e. towards Yarnell,

            Any kind of analysis of that video still doesn’t, in my humble opinion, preclude the need, I believe, for major modeling by professional Fire-Weather-Behavior folks of the fire, as the thunderstorm influence (including the outflow winds) hit it and, essentially, transformed it into a rotating — and perhaps double — column.

            Especially for those of us who live in Arizona and New Mexico and who are facing, potentially, more of the same kinds of things.

            Unless I’m missing what the Original Poster is trying to say.

            • Marti Reed says

              And remember this video was shot just 15 minutes after Darrel Willis finally pulled his crew off of the hopeless and costly (including the use of a VLAT DC-10) operation to “save” the Double A Bar Ranch.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Good point ( about the COST ).

                There are actually 2 things we STILL don’t know about this whole ‘massive’ ( and eventually pointless ) effort to protect the ‘Double-Bar-A’ Ranch.

                1) WHO actually decided it WAS ‘worth the effort’… when SPGS/DIVS Darrell Willis himself had already scouted it out in the wee hours of Sunday Morning and decided it was officially ‘not defensible’.?

                2) How MUCH did that that WHOLE wasted effort really COST… in the end. ( 2 DOC crews / Engines / Sprinkler Systems / Burnoffs / SEAT drops / VLAT drops / etc., etc.

                It ALMOST cost a number of LIVES as well.

                WHO really thought any of that was ‘worth it’… or had any real chance at success?

                • Bob Powers says

                  I doubt from what we have seen there was any real evaluation of protection of structures the ranch was I futile effort to attempt to save it for what ever reason.
                  Locals looking for protection,
                  The fire department making a valiant effort to save a expensive peace of property to look good.
                  Local politics.
                  It happens far to often and puts Fire Fighters at risk.

                  We have all learned this fire team did not evaluate the situation and use the resources they had to Suppress the Fire and keep the Fire fighters out of harms way.
                  Protecting what hey had the ability to. This is a classic example of Urban interface where many of the structures were at high risk because the were not defensible and yet the Local Fire department would not Give up on it. Spending time and resources where there was no ability to accomplish an objective.

                • Marti Reed says

                  You say two DOC crews. Am I missing something here?

                  Regardless.

                  We have just previously discussed how the “build a line across the bowl above Yarnell” strategy was doomed from the start because there weren’t enough resources put on it to accomplish it.

                  Especially give the fact that a whole IHC that was ordered didn’t make it.

                  So a whole DOC crew is committed to this (given the fire behavior, weather, and circumstances) impossible task, another whole DOC crew is committed to working at the ICP helping check people in and such.

                  They were fighting this fire by the seats of their pants.

                  From the get-go.

                  • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                    Reply to Marti Reed post on
                    March 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

                    >> Marti said…
                    >>
                    >> You say two DOC crews.
                    >> Am I missing something here?

                    There has always been evidence that BOTH the Yuma and the Globe DOC crews were assigned to protect the Double-Bar-A Ranch.

                    One of the primary pieces of evidence on that comes from that same ADOSH document where we hear Sergeant Paulson ( with the ASPC-Globe DOC Crew ) testifying that he definitely heard “Air Attack” talking to “Granite Mountain” and ASKING them…

                    “WHAT are you doing”
                    “WHERE are you GOING?”.

                    The same document says that Paulson’s Globe DOC Crew was right there at the Double-Bar-A Ranch along with the Yuma DOC Crew.

                    NOTE: This particular ADOSH document has never been officially attributed to any particular ADOSH investigator ( it wasn’t SIGNED by anyone ) but it definitely appears to be a first-person account coming directly from ADOSH lead investigator Marshall Krotenberg.

                    That ADOSH document is here…

                    / ADOSH Dropbox / ADOSH Notes and Emails / L3419 Notes redacted.pdf

                    On page 9 of that ADOSH document…
                    ——————————————-
                    On September 5, 2013 I interviewed over the telephone Sergeant Joe Barreras and Correctional Officer II Leo Vasquez (ASPC-Lewis), Sergeant Chad Blackwell (ASPC-Yuma), Sergeant Parker (ASPC Florence), Sergeant Paulson (ASPC-Globe) and Arizona State Forestry Division Crew Coordinator Jake Guadiana

                    (ASPC-Lewis). I discussed the Yarnell Hill Fire incident and the crew assignments on June 30, 2013. Four members of the Lewis hand crew along with Officer Vasquez, Crew Coordinator Jake Guadiana and one BLM helitack employee were helicoptered to the top of the ridge on Saturday June 29, 2013 to try to establish an anchor point on the fire. Another 6 firefighters including ICT-4 Trainer Justin Smith were flown to the top of the ridge later in the day for a total of 13 firefighters.

                    (ASPC-Lewis) Crew was unsuccessful in establishing an anchor point and the fire grew throughout the night primarily on the north and east side of the fire. The (ASPC-Lewis) Crew was removed from the ridge on Sunday morning and ordered to bed down at the ICP. The remainder of the Lewis and Yuma crew was sent to the ICP at Model Creek School.

                    BOTH the Globe and Yuma (DOC) Crews were assigned to provide structure protection around the Double Bar A Ranch, Peeples Valley and the Model Creek School.

                    Sergeant Blackwell (ASPC-Yuma) stated that his crew was assigned to protect the Double Bar A Ranch structure which was three to four structures, however it may have been up to seven structures. Sergeant Blackwell (ASPC-Yuma) stated that he heard the “yelling” about shelter deployment over the tactical or command channel by the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

                    Sergeant Paulson (ASPC-Globe) stated that during the day he heard air attack communicating with the Granite Mountain Hotshots and questioning what they were doing and where they were going in addition to the shelter deployment over the radio.
                    ——————————————–

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Billy Jack post on March 7, 2015 at 6:41 pm

          >> Billy Jack said…
          >>
          >> Take a good look at the 72 second Youtube video:
          >> “Yarnell Hills Fire Video Sund 1245pm”
          >> which was uploaded the day of the tragedy.

          YouTube Video Title: Yarnell Hills Fire Video Sund 1245pm

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgIi4kT5aLs&app=desktop

          This video was taken from up on a hill in Peeples Valley, from
          the porch of a house at 120 Peeples Valley Road.

          >> Billy Jack also said…
          >>
          >> The beginning of the video shows the little white house with
          >> utility pole out front and the shed along side. You can pick the
          >> house out in the Google Earth imagery; and you can pick the
          >> flagpole off in the street view. Once you know approximately
          >> where the flagpole is, you can go back to the Google Earth
          >> nadir view (straight down) to locate where the pole’s shadow
          >> pierces the earth. Likewise for the utility pole. So you can
          >> develop exactly where the videographer was standing, and
          >> establish an azimuth view vector for the camera, etc.

          The BASE of the flagpole itself seen in the video is exactly here…
          ( Decimal Latitude, Longitude ).

          34.283298, -112.749475

          The VIDEO itself appears to have been shot by someone standing exactly here, on the front porch of the house just north of the one that owns the flagpole…

          34.283532, -112.749358

          The address of the house with the porch where the VIDEO appears to have been shot is 120 Peeples Valley Road.

          If you just cut-and-paste either of the Decimal Latitude/Longitude lines above, complete with the ‘comma’, into the search bar of Google Maps a GREEN ARROW will appear on the resulting map showing those exact location(s).

          The TIME this video was shot ( looking south / southwest from 120 Peeples Valley Road ) appears to, indeed, have been exactly 12:45 PM on Sunday, June 30, 2013.

          As Marti already pointed out… this would have been EXACTLY the time that Rusty Warbis and Paul Lenmark in Aircraft ‘Bravo 3’ had just taken over the “Air Attack” position from Rory Collins who had already left the Yarnell airspace to go refuel.

          12:45 PM would also be exactly the time that ‘Bravo 3’ had taken its first ‘spin’ around the whole fire and Warbis and Lenmark could immediately tell that the fire was GOING to be going INTO Yarnell… THAT day… during THAT burn cycle. That is when they also said they saw ‘Granite Mountain’ and thought what they were doing was so pointless and they were so (quote) “out of the game” already that they felt SOMEONE had to do SOMETHING to try and protect Yarnell. They had also already noticed that the Blue Ridge Hotshots were all sitting around their Crew Carriers and NOT engaging at all.

          So that’s when Warbis and Lenmark decided to start laying that huge retardant line right into the unburned fuel all the way from the anchor point area EAST, through the hills, and over towards Highway 89.

          Even THEY knew that wasn’t an ideal thing to be doing given the fire conditions and the fuel type… but that’s how strongly they felt that no one appeared to be doing ANYTHING to protect Yarnell from what was GOING to happen later that afternoon… and they needed to do SOMETHING.

  5. Bob Powers says

    WTKTT I had a question haven’t been able to dig it out yet ——-
    Was the FBAN Part of the short team or was Kimball one of Bea Days team????

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      FBAN Byron Kimball was definitely part of the original
      “Type 2 Short” team order that was placed at 10:49 PM
      Saturday night… right after Roy Hall and FMO David Geyer
      had both agreed a SHORT team would be adequate
      for Yarnell.

      * From the “J- Resource Orders.pdf” document…

      The resource order for the “Type 2 Short” team is order
      number O-16.

      Byron Kimball was part of that resource order ( which was placed at 10:49 PM on Saturday night ) and Kimball’s order
      number is O-16.6.

      * From Byron Kimball’s ADOSH interview…

      Byron Kimball became a certified FBAN in 2008.

      He got to the ICP at the Model Creek School at exactly
      8:00 AM on Sunday, June 30, 2013. He was told IC Roy Hall
      was there already but was down at the Yarnell Hill Fire
      station still finishing that 7:00 AM briefing with Shumate,
      Abel, Marsh, Musser, Fernandez, others. Kimball went
      down to YFD and caught the last part of that meeting.
      Marsh had already left by then and was almost finished
      hiking out to the anchor point by then.

      Kimball never got to meet with Marsh that morning and Marsh never received any standard “Fire Behavior” briefing from any FBAN that day. Marsh was in too much of a hurry to get out to that ridge that morning and he was NOT required to attend the major briefing at the ICP where FBAN Kimball actually made his official “Fire Behavior” presentation that morning.

      Kimball also told ADOSH he did NOT do any standard “fire spread” modeling for the area that day. He had his laptop with all the right software on it… but told ADOSH he didn’t have TIME to do that stuff before his 9:00 AM “Expected Fire Behavior” presentation at the ICP… and then no one ever ASKED him to do that kind of stuff for the entire rest of the day… so he didn’t.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Followup…

        Even though Kimball told ADOSH he never had the TIME that morning to do any standard “fire spread” modeling for the area ( either on paper OR with his laptop )… he also told ADOSH his actual 9:00AM “Expected Fire Behavior” was comprehensive and he was, in fact, STRESSING all of the following…

        1) EXTREME fire and fuel conditions present and EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR can/should be expected.

        2) HIGH likelihood of afternoon ‘monsoon’ style thunderstorm activity with the also typical and EXPECTED ‘outflow winds’ and ‘outflow boundaries’.

        3) HIGH likelihood of fireline direction reversals if ‘outflow winds’ arrived in the area.

        But DIVSA Eric Marsh heard NONE of that.

        DIVSA Marsh was allowed to SKIP that critical
        briefing at the ICP so he could get a head start
        on his long hike out to the ridge ( which turned
        out to be not even necessary since BLM chopper
        N14HX would end up spending the morning
        flying multiple shuttle flights to remove the
        Lewis DOC crew from the exact anchor point
        that Marsh was hiking to ).

        • Bob Powers says

          What a Waist——–That information should have gone out to every one on the fire especially a crew out on a mountain.
          Another failure of the overhead here that was crucial and no one took the
          responsibility.

          This team was a total disaster and the State needed to be Fined By ADOSH.

          • rocksteady says

            It’s almost like everyone involved from the top to the bottom thought it was just another piece of shit scrub brush fire.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              I don’t know about ‘top to bottom’… but what you just said is a close match to something FBAN Byron Kimball himself said in his ADOSH interview regarding his own ‘initial impression’ AS he was driving down Highway 89 to find Roy Hall down in Yarnell after having just checked in at the ICP at exactly 8:00 AM.

              I wish I was near a desktop PC and I could be posting direct from Kimball’s ADOSH interview… but I’ve been stuck on airplanes all day and still only have this ‘dumbphone’ to work with.

              Kimball told ADOSH he was just thinking “Southern California brush fire with same fuel type and some hills in the mix”… or something like that.

              As the day progressed… he realized with each passing hour how WRONG his initial impression had been.

              If you haven’t already done so… you need to read the full transcript of FBAN Byron Kimball’s ADOSH interview.

              He was a a ‘Chatty Kathy’ and once he got talking even the ADOSH investigators had a hard time slowing him down.

              He made no bones about the fact that, to him, one of the hardest parts of the FBAN job was having to constantly ‘dumb down’ and ‘simplify’ the data so that IC and OPS and DIVS level people could understand it.

              He said one of his more successful ‘dumb down’ explanations with regards to moisture content was his own “Home Depot Lumber” story.

              Something along the lines of…

              “Ya know how ya buy those kiln-dried 2x4s from Home Depot?… Well… they still have about 4 to 8 percent moisture content in ’em. The timber you’ll be dealing with out there today has LESS than 2 percent moisture content… so keep that image in your head”.

              • Marti Reed says

                And PS. I found some VERY interesting things about Hazard Trees yesterday, which I’ll post when I have time.

                Definitely a case of “Houston, we have a PROBLEM….”

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Someone ELSE was also NOT THERE to hear that critical 9:00 AM “Expected Fire Behavior” briefing from FBAN Byron Kimball.

            The same man who would later set all THREE critical ‘trigger points’ for the evacuation of an entire TOWN and ALL of the firefighters assigned to protect it.

            Structure Protection guy Gary Cordes.

            Not only did Cordes (apparently) NOT consult with ANYONE about exactly where those critical ‘trigger points’ should be before just designating them on his own… the on-duty on-salary official FBAN in Yarnell that Sunday wasn’t even made AWARE that Cordes had done that.

            After the incident… Cordes’ mantra with regards to those woefully inadequate ‘trigger points’ was just “The fire behavior exceeded our expectations”…

            …but nobody ever asked Cordes what he meant by the use of the plural “OUR expectations”.

            If he really did NOT consult with ANYONE else ( including the on-duty FBAN ) before choosing those ‘trigger points’ all on his own… then what Cordes really meant was that the outperformed HIS expectations.

            This would be the same guy who thought the Boulder Springs Ranch cleared area was 20 to 30 acres ( TEN TIMES its actual size ), and that a single dozer blade wide ring around the GM Supt and Chase trucks would be an adequate ‘Safety Zone’ to protect them… and also ultimately the ONLY guy in Yarnell who knew EXACTLY where Granite Mountain was headed… and was convinced they had (quote) “Plenty of time to get there”.

            Add all that together ( trigger point selection and all ) and it really wasn’t a stellar ‘situational awareness’ or ‘decision making’ day for Gary Cordes.

            • Bob Powers says

              My brain is spinning———
              Marsh talked with ops and was on the phone you would think some one would have briefed him on the predictions.
              Even him and Frisby had a get together meeting you would think Frisby would have discussed the predicted Fire Behavior.

              Marsh had ample opportunity to talk to the FBAN during the day
              As a DIVS he should have at least checked with him.

              There are a lot of loose ends here That were never covered by SAIR
              just not wanting to point fingers and lay blame what a mess.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                All of those assumptions ( that the Field OPS1 and at least the BR SUPT ) would been there to hear the FBAN’s official “Expected Fire Behavior” report would be NORMAL assumptions to make… but as we know all too well now… there was very little happening that Sunday that was NORMAL.

                Hang on to your hat.

                There is NO actual proof-positve evidence that either Field OPS1 Abel OR anyone from Blue Ridge was actually present in that Model Creek School gymnasium for that 9:00 AM briefing… or that they ACTUALLY heard the FBAN’s “Expected Fire Behavior” part of that briefing.

                In OPS1 Abel’s ADOSH interview he reports that he DID drive back up to the ICP following the Yarnell Fire Station briefing… but NOWHERE in that ADOSH interview does he confirm he actually ATTENDED that 9:00 AM briefing. On the contrary. Abel seems to say he felt he was ‘already fully briefed’ because of the YFD meeting and even though he returned to the ICP he was already doing other things like assigning resources and arranging for he and Musser to fly their first recon in DPS chopper Ranger 58, which they did the moment the 9:00 AM briefing ended.

                Blue Ridge Captain True heart Brown says specifically that they received NO BRIEFING at all that morning.

                Roy Hall ended up playing ‘facilitator’ for that briefing since he had NO Plans Chief there… but his own recollections to ADOSH are pretty useless. He knows there was no official sign-in for that meeting and other than himself, Russ Shumate, Planning OPS Musser and FBAN Kimball… Roy Hall really doesn’t remember who the hell was really in that meeting… or not.

                The ‘holes in the swiss cheese’ were already piling up even that early in the morning.

                Later in the day one of the Blue Ridge Hotshots in his Unit Log said he made the ‘swiss cheese’ remark to BR Captain Brown and Captain Brown’s reply was…”Forget the holes… what we NEED first is a piece of cheese”.

                That’s how BAD the perception of management was that Sunday even by the men working the fire.

                • Bob Powers says

                  If as we were discussing earlier about the BR crew sitting around most of the day. I now understand why they were not going to get to far committed in the total Chinese Fire Drill make excesses and stay out of trouble with out looking like your not doing the Job stand by for burn out crew Etc.

                  Frisby had to be talking with Marsh over the total mess going on Marsh’s assignment was not going to get done and every thing in the Next division was messed up.

                  Marshes Idea to pull off the line may have been building all day and when he decided to do it. The Timing was just to late. Buy the time he made the decision it was almost to late but he pushed it to get the crew to a place they could be picked up.

                  Something in the form of bull headedness????????
                  A very possible conclusion. My Thoughts again
                  Just digging holes and searching. .

                  • Marti Reed says

                    When I wrote, somewhat downstream, about FBAN Kimball thinking of the “claim the ridges, let the fire come to you” strategy, the other “slide” I had in my head was that totally BS incapable-of-being-even-remotely-completed (given the resources they had, including the ones that didn’t show up) non-strategy of putting that line across that middle bowl.

                    It was, supposedly, all about protecting Yarnell in case the fire reversed direction and burned toward Yarnell (and thus the “plan” to backburn it that night), and yet,

                    even given Kimball’s et als warning about the fire actually DOING EXACTLY THAT, everybody was all “It exceeded our expectations!!!!!”

                    And yeah, you betcha that’s why Blue Ridge apparently decided not to waste their time and energy and risk-kharma to pretend to invest in that, as you so perfectly put it,

                    “Chinese Fire Drill.”

                    Of course, they were also, apparently, sharp enough to realize that with all those holes in all that non-existent Swiss Cheese, they didn’t even need to go thru all the hassle of formally “turning down” the assignment.

                    They could just hang out, zip around on a UTV, go thru the motions of staging a last-minute line-cutting charade and……..

                    GET PAID FOR IT!

                    They definitely were the smartest kids on the block that day.

                    Too bad they got, ultimately, screwed over, also, that day. Thanks USFS!!!

                    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                      Here are some things that ( thanks to the piss-poor investigations and the heavy BLACK PEN of the US Forestry Service ) we still do NOT know…

                      1) WHY was Blue Ridge not actually put right to work ‘improving’ that east-west two track?

                      Could it be that since everyone knew the ONLY chance in hell that ‘plan’ had in protecting anything is if they DID, in fact, get the chance to ‘burn it off’ later that evening… that the decision was made once the DOZER pushed that two-track that it was now ‘adequate’ enough for the possible late-evening burnoff… and that’s why Blue Ridge didn’t NEED to slug out there an ‘improve it’?

                      Is THAT why the entire Blue Ridge crew ended up sitting on their asses most of the day?

                      Was it DECIDED ( Marsh? Cordes? Frisby? All of them? ) that ‘improving’ it beyond the dozer pushing just wasn’t necessary since that was all that was needed for the ‘burnoff’ later… and if THAT didn’t get to happen there was no use in doing any ‘improvements’.

                      In other words… as BAD as this plan was… everyone still knew the ONLY value it had was if they COULD do those extensive burnoffs later that evening.

                      Those ‘Dozer pushes’ by themselves were NEVER going to be valid ‘firebreaks’ and provide any real protection to Yarnell at all… and everyone KNEW THAT.

                      2) WHAT did Marsh and Frisby REALLY talk about for a half-hour up on that ridge?

                      All we have ever been told is that they discussed the piss-poor briefings, the tone-guard problems… and then Marsh asked for cubies and Gatorade and oh… by the way… can my guy who isn’t feeling well today go down with you and sit on that mound?

                      There HAD to be MUCH MORE to that conversation between Marsh and Frisby than we have been told.

                      They may have HONESTLY discussed this ‘burn off all the way from ridge to town’ plan themselves and they MAY have agreed it was basically a JOKE… and THAT is why Frisby still didn’t put his men to work on it after he came down from that face-to-face.

                      3) The ultimate question, then. If it was COMMON KNOWLEDGE amongst the people working on the plan that it was a JOKE and stood little chance of accomplishing anything… then WHY were they just allowed to keep working on it? Just to have ‘something to do’ an stay ‘on the clock’?

          • rocksteady says

            I sat and listened to the Kimball interview this morning.

            He states he is not much of a numbers guy (he uses flame height and chains per hour in his example.

            However, he delves into the nunnery, flame height 4 feet, direct attack unsupported; 4 to 8 feet, direct attack, with machine or air support; 8 to 11, extreme.

            He talks about updating OPS when he got the weather updates, but later on (as he watches a vlat drop) he says flame height of 8 to 10 feet and pushing hard.

            I found it interesting that he did not state that he contacted OPS to tell them he was observing “extreme fire behaviour” by his definition, rather than by prediction.

            Any others catch that?

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to rocksteady post on March 8, 2015 at 11:58 am

              >> rocksteady said…
              >>
              >> I sat and listened to the Kimball interview this morning.
              >>
              >> I found it interesting that he did not state that he
              >> contacted OPS to tell them he was observing
              >> “extreme fire behaviour” by his definition, rather
              >> than by prediction.
              >>
              >> Any others catch that?

              Yes.

              I think I stated this somewhere before… but MY impression of his entire recounting of his time on Sunday, June 30, 2013 is that THEY ( Fire Management ) were treating him as just the WEATHER GUY… and he was ACCEPTING that role.

              You yourself said that each FBAN has how own ‘style’.

              You also said that YOU see yourself as fundamentally a ‘Safety Officer’ and when YOU start seeing that sort of thing… YOU would definitely make sure ‘Fire Management’ ( and resources ) are AWARE of the changing conditions.

              It doesn’t sound like FBAN Byron Kimball saw his ‘role’ the same way. The only time he was interacting with ‘Fire Management’ all day following the 9:00 AM briefing was if he had some WEATHER to report.

              I get the impression he was just thinking ( with regards to change in Fire Behavoir ‘out there’ in the bowls ) was along the lines of “Well… If I can see it… they must be able to see it, too”.

              That was NOT the case on the SOUTH side of the fire.

              Cordes, et al, were taken by SURPRISE as the fire charged through the ‘trigger points’ far faster than Cordes had ‘expected’ it too.

              They ( Cordes, et al ) were NOT aware of how quickly the fire started to change DIRECTION and SPEED ‘out there’ in that middle bowl.

              Personally… I ‘hear ya’ when you say that each FBAN has his/her own ‘style’… but it does seem like the FBAN that was in Yarnell that day was ‘dropping the ball’ and NOT making sure ALL resources on the fire were fully aware that the worst-case fire-spread scenario imaginable was now IN PROGRESS ( no predictions needed ).

              Maybe FBAN Kimball wasn’t even aware ( himself ) that there were actually NO SAFETY OFFICERS there in Yarnell until later in the afternoon. One of them ( Marty Cole ) only arrived literally minutes before the deployment.

              I think Kimball was doing a lot of ‘assuming’ that people WERE being notified about things he, himself, was observing… and that it wasn’t his place to jump on the radio and play ‘Safety Officer’.

              Since his attention to the radio was spotty ( he never heard a lot of things because he was out of his truck taking pictures )… maybe he also was just assuming that certain WARNINGS were being delivered to the resources and he just didn’t hear them.

              There is a HUGE ‘Lesson Learned’ right here somewhere regarding FBANs and their interaction with management ( and resources ).

        • Marti Reed says

          Thanks for recounting this, WTKTT!

          You have a MUCH better memory than I do!!!!! As in, AWESOME!

          I differ with your interpretations a bit. Of course I’m looking at/listening to the actual files, so there’s that.

          He never said anything like the worst part of the job was having to “dumb things down.” He didn’t even initiate that term. I don’t think it bothered him, because, just as he described the courses he had to take to learn how to “translate” the science to different kinds of audiences, that’s just a part of the job.

          Which it always is. And that analogy about the Home Depot wood, I’ve seen it LOTS of times. Because it just works really well.

          I used to write “for-the-public” articles for Lowell Observatory. You get used to doing that kind of translating. LIke how I tried to describe the “east flank of the fire” in such a way that debunked the mistake that the fire was west of where Granite Mountain was working.

          One of the things I found really interesting was how, in his connecting what he was observing at Yarnell with the California brush thing (and also with his “previous fire” experience–which, apparently was on the Silver Fire on the Gila in New Mexico (with, apparently that same essential team), was his saying how, in that kind of fuel and topography, you take the ridges and let the fire come to you.

          Which I had heard before, but had forgotten about. And which is how Sciacca successfully fought the Slide Fire. And which, obviously, was not what was happening on the Yarnell Fire.

          Also somewhere, not in this particular thread, but down below somewhere, you said, I think, something about FBAN Kimball not even using his radio.

          That’s not the case. He had it on, and seems to have been listening, for the most part, although he missed the como about the deployment. He just didn’t initiate talking on it a lot, because he didn’t want to (I’m paraphrasing here) unnecessarily add to the noise, and because he didn’t think he needed to in terms of his own self-orientation.

          So just sitting here quickly thinking (we’re moving my mom’s furniture etc out of her apartment today, so haven’t had much time).

          He wasn’t as engaged in getting feedback from the crews as he could have been. But he was paying attention. And definitely observing as much as he could from the various places he put himself.

          And he definitely understood the SERIOUSNESS of the implications of those two NWS warnings. I think it was the crews who fell short on that one. I guess he didn’t think he needed to hold their hands on that one.

          Whose mistake is that?

          And it does seem to me that it was Cordes, in particular, who was being completely oblivious the most as to the fact that there was an FBAN on that fire and that, given the kinds of decisions he was making, Cordes should have been communicating with Kendall FOR SURE.

          I don’t get a sense that the fire “exceeded” FBAN Byron Kendall’s expectations.

          I mean, as he said, he was on the Esperanza Fire. That may very well have been his keystone “slide” for “exceeding expectations.”

          The Yarnell Fire did pretty much exactly what Kendall said, from the get-go, it was capable of doing and quite likely to do.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Marti… thank you for the ‘reality check’ on FBAN Byron Kimball’s ADOSH interview.

            You are right. I was mis-remembering what he said about his radio usage. “He didn’t say he turns his radio OFF when he’s not involved with Operations. He said he “Stays OFF it” when he’s not directly involved.

            He also said he was frequently “out of his truck” and assumes, himself, that THAT is why he didn’t hear any of the MAYDAY or deployment traffic.

            FWIW I also mis-remembered his percentages in his “Home Depot” analysis. More like 10 to 12 percent moisture content in the kiln-dried lumber you buy… whereas the moisture content in the ‘dead fuels’ in Yarnell, under the current conditions was probably no more than 4 percent… by his estimation. Any way you cut it… that’s DRY.

            You are ALSO right about the ‘dumb down’ part of the FBAN job. It actually wasn’t Kimball himself who used that ‘dumb down’ phrase in the interview. It was actually ADOSH investigator Barry Hicks. Kimball sort of agreed that yes… definitely part of the job and as FBAN you have to get USED to usually being the ONLY one in the management team who ‘speaks the language’… but Kimball said he was ‘used to it’

            I agree that if you read all of Kimball’s interview… it would be hard to say that the fire exceeded HIS expectations. He knew what COULD happen there that day and DID talk about it during his “Expected Fire Behavior” part of the 9:00 AM briefing.

            I also left one name off the list of people that Roy Hall definitely recalls being in that 9:00 AM briefing. Hall also definitely remembers SPGS Darrell Willis being there. Willis was actually the one giving the full situational report because IC Russ Shumate was burned out at that point.

            So SPGS Willis was REQUIRED to be at that briefing… but SPGS Cordes was NOT… and did NOT hear Kimball’s “Expected Fire Behavior” presentation.

            By 9:00 AM… SPGS Cordes had already taken Marsh out to the top of the Sesame Clearing area and shown him that two-track leading west to the old-grader… and Cordes remained out there to deal with the dozer as it was arriving.

            • Marti Reed says

              Well, I’m totally willing to forgive you, because what you DID remember was way beyond my capabilities!!!!

              And that’s an interview that I think everybody really needs to listen to, to get the nuances in his voice.

              Regarding Willis. In my mind, even HE wasn’t apparently, paying all that much attention to Kimball. As a matter of fact, he really mystifies me a lot. I really still don’t understand that costly failed “last stand” at the Double A Bar Ranch, all things considered.

              And, unless I’m wrong, which I could be on this, it seems that burn-out on Model Creek Road was designed to protect structures to the north of what was, even as they were burning it, a fire that was “standing up” (surprise surprise) as it was turning around, just as Kimball had predicted a high possibility that morning. Given the storm patterns they had been seeing ALL WEEK.

              And Gary Cordes. What can I even say.

              He’s got all these crews either working or “working” all day on a strategy that doesn’t have even remotely enough resources to even begin to complete, and that strategy is BASED on the assumption that the fire’s EVENTUALLY gonna reverse direction and head toward Yarnell….

              ………because that’s what even HE was expecting.

              But he doesn’t need to be even thinking about even consulting with the Fire Behavior Analyst about the possibility of that reversal actually happening that day???? And he’s saying the fire “exceeded our expetations”??????

              And you’re right. Who is the “our” in Cordes’ head. Everybody but the professional person whose opinion he/they should have been consulting regarding “expectations?”

              Sheesh. Is all I can say.

  6. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** UPDATE ON YARNELL MEMORIAL BOARD’S
    ** LAST MEETING ON FEB 27, 2015.

    6 hours ago… Prescott Daily Courier article appeared regarding last public meeting of the Yarnell Memorial Board on Feb 27. Brendan McDonough appears to have been at that meeting the day AFTER his previously scheduled under-oath deposition failed to take place ( for the SECOND time ). Board now has State Park’s official written permission to proceed with purchasing the desired 250 acres that includes the deployment site… but no landowners are currently willing to give up any land to create any PUBLIC access to the site.

    http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=142501&TM=54354.63

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        I think the idea that the small group of widows who wanted to buy the land themselves and ONLY allow access to who THEY want has gone to the back burner… but there is still a chance they could just show up at the required PUBLIC AUCTION for the parcel and attempt to out-bid Arizona State Parks.

        Article says that PUBLIC AUCTION could now happen as early as June.

        I think any number of people on that Board could still give crap whether “the PUBLIC” is EVER allowed to access the site… but according to the article at least one member of the Board keeps informing them on reality and reminding them that no matter WHAT they decide… they will NOT be able to prevent members of “the PUBLIC” from visiting that site.

        Oddly enough… the one Board member who keeps reminding the others of this REALITY is Darrell Willis.

        Next big decision is WHAT the memorial will eventually look like. Some people still think actual life-size BRONZE statues of ALL of the deceased placed in some kind of standing/walking configuration out there would be the way to go.

        Personally… I think that would be WAAAY ‘over the top’ and the net effect nothing but kinda CREEPY.

        Others think just simple white wooden crosses where each man died… but that means they have to ‘get that right’ once and for all and use the YCSO FAROb3D imaging to accomplish that.

        Others think just ONE cross for all… somewhere there.

        Obviously, at some point, they will also have to consider incorporating that now-famous Boulder that is just south of the deployment area which was well photographed just because it has some cracks in it that APPEAR to resemble a Christian cross. Do they try and ‘incorpoate’ that now well-known feature into whatever they are going to do… or do they just ‘leave it alone’ and ‘not go there’.

        There’s also the flagpole donated by Arizona Utilities Company ( same company that also paid for ALL the Hotshot funerals ). Does it STAY?… or does it GO?

        There was already some discussion at a previous meeting about removing it back to Yarnell itself… but nothing was actually decided.

        • Marti Reed says

          Interesting thoughts.

          Actually, what was inside my head when I wrote my comment was from reading the three comments on the article. Went back there today and didn’t see any more comments so……we’ll see.

          But, anyway. About how, apparently, some folks have their panties all in a bunch about how

          “We don’t want all that HORRIBLE MASSIVE TRAFFIC coming through our quiet peaceful out of the way little town (that we never actually cared about enough to even mitigate) and our property (ditto)!”

          I mean, like REALLY????

          This is while they’re all in agony about the loss in tax and business revenue related to all the people who fled Yarnell–because of the fire–not coming back.

          And as if there’s gonna be six quadrillion people dashing madly and relentlessly to Yarnell to crowd the Memorial Site.

          And I’m not even remotely surprised.

          What I want to experience when I eventually go visit the site commemorating these wildland fire-fighters, with all their strengths and weaknesses, brilliance and human fallibility, over whom I have shed way more tears than over my own mother (am I sick or what?), is something both natural, symbolic, and with even a little room for creatively whimsical.

          And, yeah, when I read the idea of the bronze life-size sculptures, I was kinda like, hmmmmmmmmm, I think I need to think about that…….

          I really like the Storm King Trail. I’d LOVE to go there. Everything I have seen/read regarding it comes across as being so grounded, sobering, human, humble, and, thus, inspirational (with beer). And, thus, for the people who go there, so POWERFUL.

          It’s just really simple. Simple crosses with trees. Upon which people who visit put their own “memorials.” And, thus, they each get “personalized” uniquely. That’s it.

          And that’s what “happens” there. That connection. That’s all that’s necessary. And it IS necessary. And well-deserved. Warts and all. As in…….

          Namaste.

          • Marti Reed says

            I just want to be able to walk in there, and look around in that place, and walk over to where Chris MacKenzie died, and say, “Thank you, Chris, for leading me, through your camera, and, thus, your images, and, thus, your eyes, to this place, and to your story, and to your agony, and to your love, and to your beauty, and to this story, and to this quest for the truth, and through this long, winding, rocky journey of learning the way of wildfire and the way of those who have the courage to engage it and teach us about it, on behalf of the rest of us who are still living.”

            And I think that’s probably basically what most of the folks who want this memorial to happen just basically want.

            • Marti Reed says

              And I’m sitting here writing this stuff on my daughter’s laptop, at our “family” house (which has been almost empty until now), de-mobilized by a really painful knee, completely in a bubble, while my daughter and her millenial friends (one of whom is a field biologist who is starting to get interested in wildfire) are hauling in the furniture we just hauled out of my mom’s apartment, from a U-Haul.

              While thinking about a Yarnell cyberfriend who I just learned was recently seriously injured in a bad accident.

              After spending all day yesterday researching fatalities and injuries from “hazard trees.”

              And the citizens of Yarnell are complaining about traffic?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Marti Reed post on March 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm

            >> Marti said…
            >>
            >> This is while they’re all in agony about the loss in tax and
            >> business revenue related to all the people who fled
            >> Yarnell–because of the fire–not coming back.

            I think what bothers the remaining residents of Yarnell most is that they don’t like the idea of having the tragic incidicent of June 30, 2013 be all that Yarnell is KNOWN for… and have it become the PRIMARY reason people are ‘visiting’ Yarnell ( and contributing to the town’s economy ).

            I think there are SOME people there who still haven’t grasped the full reality that this in a HISTORIC place now ( for a specific reason ) and it was a story that went “around the world”.

            There are probably also SOME people still there who just wish everyone would ‘move on’ and ( what? ) forget that it ever happened, or something.

            Not a chance. It’s HISTORY now… and it’s not going away.

            >> Marti also said…
            >>
            >> And as if there’s gonna be six quadrillion people dashing
            >> madly and relentlessly to Yarnell to crowd the Memorial Site.

            Well… there IS the ‘reality’ that there WILL be ( every year ) some kind of ‘anniversary’ event… probably for many, many years to come. It IS going to happen… whether they like it or not.

            As for CONSTANT throngs of people visiting the area just to visit the GM site… probably not. But you count on the ‘anniversary’ stuff, fer sure.

            >> Marti also said…
            >>
            >> What I want to experience when I eventually go visit the site
            >> commemorating these wildland fire-fighters, with all their
            >> strengths and weaknesses, brilliance and human fallibility,
            >> over whom I have shed way more tears than over my own
            >> mother (am I sick or what?),

            No. That’s not unusual. Don’t beat yourself up about it. My father was the best man I’d ever met walking around on this small planet but I also never shed any tears over his death. He was killed by Hurricane Andrew. It even surprised me for quite some time… but I have come to understand why. Mourning has its place… but a life well lived can/should be celebrated, too.

            “No on here gets out alive”
            Jim Morrison
            “Five to One” on the album Waiting for the Sun (1968)

            >> Marti also said…
            >>
            >> is something both natural, symbolic, and with even a
            >> little room for creatively whimsical.

            If they are going to do life-size bronze statues of all the men… they should recreate ( full size ) that ‘pyramid’ from that famous photo.

            Now THAT would be really something.

            Here is what I think ( me, personally ) should happen.

            I don’t know about the details of what should actually be there at the place where they died… but as for the new ‘Arizona State Park’ that is going to be created… here is what should happen.

            Arizona State Parks should ‘cut to the chase’ and actually just PURCHASE the entire Boulder Springs Ranch and have it function as the ‘Visitor’s Center’ for this new Arizona State Park.

            Before you reach down to grab your jaw off the floor… let me explain.

            It would be the PERFECT “Visitor’s Center’ for a State Park like this.

            Plenty of parking, plenty of facilities to accommodate the PUBLIC traffic and any ‘anniversary’ commemorations that WILL be taking place over the years… absolutely IDEAL access from Glen Ilah’.

            It would be ‘turn-key’ ready to handle everything a ‘Visitor’s Center’ should be for a site like that… right down to the electronic gate that can be closed when the Park is not open.

            Access to the deployment site itself would/could then be on the SAME DOZER PUSH that was actually used to take the men out. That would be a poignant walk to make all by itself as people walk to/from the site and back to the Visitor’s Center.

            And here is the PRACTICAL part of all this for the State of Arizona.

            Lee and DJ Helm are already among the 160+ Plaintiffs in the ‘Property Damage’ lawsuits filed against Arizona Forestry and the State of Arizona.

            Lee and DJ Helm are claiming anywhere from 6 to 7 million dollars in damages.

            That is obviously just a ‘target amount’ and any settlement would usuall be just some fraction of that amount…

            …but it’s a PERFECT opportunity for the State of Arizona ( and the Arizona State Parks Division ) to play a little “Let’s Make A Deal” here with the owners of that Boulder Springs Ranch.

            The Arizona State lawyers would be perfectly within legal bounds to simply make the Helms’ an OFFER.

            They could say… “If you agree to deed the property to Arizona State Parks… not only will we give you EVERYTHING you are ASKING for ( the full amount )… if it isn’t the ‘fair value’ of the property we will also fix the deal so you walk away with ‘fair value’ PLUS 30 percent”.

            In other words… “Make them an offer they can’t refuse”.

            I don’t know what the ACTUAL value of that spread really is… but if it really is just in the 6 to 7 million dollar range… that is POCKET CHANGE compared to what The State of Arizona is probably going to have to pay out to these 160+ Plaintiffs, anyway. That final amount could be in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS… so whatever additional POCKET CHANGE it takes for Arizona State Parks to come out of that carnage with a deed to the Boulder Springs Ranch would be a GOOD thing.

            I am entirely SERIOUS about this.

            I can think of no better place for a ‘Visitor’s Center’ for this new Arizona State Park… and it’s doable even without mentioning the ’eminent domain’ pathways that could also be pursued.

            I would even go so far as to say that this new ‘Visitor’s Center’ is big enough… and accommodating enough… to actually be a satellite branch of the actual “Arizona Widlfire Academy” based in Prescott.

            There could be regular AWA CLASSES held there… and what better way to honor those men who died…. in THAT location… one terrible day.

            So I really am serious about this.

            Anything worth doing… is worth doing RIGHT… and the money involved to make THIS vision happen really is just POCKET CHANGE compared to what’s going to be changing hands when all the dust clears.

            If such an offer IS made to Lee and DJ Helms… I think they would consider it. They must ALREADY know that whatever ‘privacy’ they cherished about that place is now gone forever… and that there WILL eventually be ‘access’ to that site passing right along their own property lines even if they try to prevent it.

            If the State of Arizona offers them a ”sweet deal’ in response to their own suit for damages… I think they will take it.

            • Marti Reed says

              Thumbs up. Brilliant.

              Including the juniper tree.

              And yes, about it ain’t gonna be going away.

              And the Helmses are smart enough to know that.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                The KEY here is the fact that Lee and DJ Helm ARE, in fact, suing Arizona Forestry and the State of Arizona for 6 to 7 million dollars.

                That leaves PLENTY of room for “Let’s Make A Deal” and the State of Arizona Parks Division ending up with a DEED to the property.

                It could be a WIN-WIN for everyone involved.

                Lee and DJ Helm get to ‘move on’… happily… and Arizona Parks Division ends up with the PERFECT ‘Visitor’s Center’ for their new State Park.

                By the time they do all the purchasing of ‘Rights of Way’ for decent public access to the site all the way from town ( but still no good facilities )… they will probably have to spend at least half as much as it would take to just acquire the whole turn-key ready-to-go Boulder Springs Ranch itself.

                So they should just “go for it” and do the PERFECT thing.

                • Marti Reed says

                  And yes. Thinking about this as I go into total escape mode and watch a class (I go to school online) on “Family Portraits,” thus thinking about Balance and such.

                  I wouldn’t be surprised, all things considered, if, in fact, the Helmses don’t have this in the backs of their minds as they object to The Plan. I mean really.

                  Why would anybody really want to continue living there (knowing that what’s happening isn’t going to go away) if they could get a buyout that could easily finance another Place in a much less awful place??

                  And, as for Yarnell (remember I’m watching, ahem, Family Portraits) what they really outta do, in order to BALANCE out this portrait, is make themselves an awesome example of a community embracing their ecological reality (which is not going to go away either) and becoming not only a Firewise Community, but an awesome and creative Firewise Community, and really making a very big deal out of that.

                  It’s like, yes, we’ve gone through this horrible thing, and we’re scarred by it (as is the wildland fire-fighting community), but we’re not going to be defeated by it.

                  And here’s how WE learn and practice OUR Lessons Learned, thus embracing our future.

                  That’s how, and why, you create Balance in a Family Portrait.

                • Kimberly Cody says

                  “The Helms get to ‘move on’ happily” and “Why would anybody want to continue living there knowing (knowing what’s happening isn’t going to away) if they could get a buyout that could easily finance a place in another place in a much less aweful place” And as for Yarnell in order to BALANCE out the family portrait you need to get on board and become Firewise and really make a big deal out of it so you can say ‘we’ve been through a horrible thing and were scarred by it (as is the Wildland fire community) but we’re not going to be defeated by it and here’s how WE learn and practice OUR lessons learned, thus embracing the future” And that is how we create a family portrait……..

                  Wow….wow….wow….The Helm’s were RESPONSIBLE home owners that protected their property BEFORE this event and now you want to kick them out of their home so they can go on because you are never going to give them peace of mind and they will forever have to worry about you folks illegally accessing their land as many have since this tragic day to get to the site…..this is non-sense….This is there home please have some respect and think about them….and all of these stupid allegations about the bulldoze line is proof that our firefighters were protecting there home and some how this played into there death….that is pure crap. Those bulldozer lines were created to retrieve the bodies of these fallen heroes. The Helm’s immediately opened there property to Fire investigators the moment they learned about this tragic news and they selflessly provided there home to investigators to retrieve these fallen firefighters, don’t get me wrong they were more than happy to do it and they did it out of the kindness of there hearts but ever since all I have read is all these stupid conspiracy theories. . I apologize if I am sounding a little harsh but I am just tired of reading things like this that sound like you are making a joke out of fire protection. If you truly want to honor the lives of the Granite Mountain Hotshots then why don’t you do something constructive and make Firewise preparedness a top priority instead of wanting to do it so you can make it look good in family portraits. The Granite Mountain Hotshots priority when they weren’t fighting Wildland fires was creating defensable spaces to protect properties. Why don’t you honor them by actually doing something productive. Embrace the Helm’s lead and put your time and energy into making Yarnell a REAL Firewise community to ensure this tragedy will never happen again. ….The Helm’s have invested so much in your community because this is where they chose to live, don’t you think YOU have done enough to this poor family who have become victims of the harassing, law breaking public that constantly trespass and trash his property since this tragedy occurred and now you are publically vowing to continue because you know there ranch is the most ‘convenient’ route for you to reach the memorial site….shame on you all for never considering all that this family has already given. They have become a victim of this tragedy too because of you….if your intentions are to truly honor these men then do it but the answer is not to convince yourself by continuing to make this families life miserable for YOUR convince…..damn you do everything right and your still treated disrepectively….sorta like that saying No Good Dead Goes Unpunished….

  7. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** DR. TOM ZIMMERMAN ( AND MIKE DUDLEY ) ACTUALLY
    ** INTERVIEWED JOY COLLURA?

    NOTE: This actually starts out as a Reply to Marti’s post below regarding the ‘other’ writings of this Dr. Tom Zimmerman guy… but it also contains an interesting reference to ‘Zimmerman’ and ‘Dudley’ and the SAIT that appeared back in Chapter SEVEN of this ongoing discussion.

    >> Marti said…
    >>
    >> When I googled and read some of Zimmerman’s most recent things, the sense I got
    >> was that he was emphasizing how wildland firefighting in the 21st Century has to
    >> change, given climate change, fuels loading, increasingly “extreme” fire behavior,
    >> increased danger to fire-fighters (and thence increasingly pulling them OFF fires,
    >> especially during times of increased intensity, for safety reasons), etc etc etc, and
    >> that communities have to take increasing responsibility (including financial)
    >> for their own self-protection.
    >>
    >> Which are all points I TOTALLY AGREE WITH.

    Yes. Dr. Tom Zimmerman is considered one of the LEADING PROPONENTS of these new theories including ‘managing fires’ rather than ‘fighting them’.

    He is considered by some to be the ‘touchstone’ for these new theories about Wildland Firefighting and how it needs to change its ways in the coming years.

    Example: He blames the old “10:00 AM” rule for a LOT of BAD things.

    He LOVES to write ( and lecture ) on all this and any quick Google search for “Tom Zimmerman Wildfire” will produce bagoodles of articles.

    >> Marti also said…
    >>
    >> Which led me to think that it might be possible that AZ Department of Forestry might
    >> be retaining him as an “expert witness”/consultant in order to help them frame THAT
    >> message as a defense to the Homeowners Lawsuits.
    >>
    >> Which I think is not unjustifiable, to a certain extent. I mean, really, the Yarnell folks
    >> obviously were not taking seriously the warnings and the subsequent grants to help
    >> them do at least SOME mitigation. As are, neither the residents of Payson, currently.

    You might be EXACTLY right.

    It sounds like you also stumbled across the article he was contracted to write for Montana’s “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” campaign following the Yarnell Hill Tragedy.

    This “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” campaign was launched as a self-appointed “Lessons we can Learn from Yarnell” intiative… but make no mistake… the LESSONS had nothing to do with Granite Mountain or the decisions THEY were making in Yarnell.

    The ENTIRE approach of this “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” campaign ( which Zimmerman contributed to ) was ALL about how people aren’t doing enough to protect their property in the Wildland Urban Interface and THIS is what represents the greatest threat to Wildland Firefighters.

    In other words… it’s THEIR fault ( the people that don’t protect their homes ).

    The HOME page for this “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” campaign ( created and sponsored by the ‘FireSafe Montana’ organization ) is here…

    http://firesafemt.org/enough-is-enough-campaign/

    The link to the article that Zimmerman wrote for this “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” campaign is at the bottom of this webpage with the title…

    ** Can We Prepare and Live with Fire?
    ** By Tom Zimmerman, President of the International Association of Wildland Fire

    From the “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” home page ( link above )…
    ———————————————————————————-
    Enough is Enough Campaign

    “Enough is Enough” is a campaign that focuses on the many issues of wildland fire in the urban interface. The title of this campaign originates from one of our founding board members reaction to the sobering tragedy of the Yarnell Fire. As you will quickly see, this project is not singly about that incident. The focus is of a much wider scope of “Why, we are…. where we are, at this time, and the conditions of our forests and wildand fuels.”

    The “Enough is Enough” campaign will mostly be editorial pieces, public service announcements, and news articles from a diverse collaboration of concerned experts from forestry, fire ecology, wildland fire, fire behavior, large fire management, social aspects of wildland fire, and fire policy development.

    Wildland fire is more of a challenge today than it was thirty or even ten years ago. Some would argue that is so because the Wildland Urban Interface is growing larger. Some would say it’s inevitable because the climate is warming. Others argue it’s because of severely restricted management on federal forest lands that has led to unreasonable forest encroachment.

    We may not be successful in getting answers to all the questions that are out there, but we want to move the conversation forward…. Because “Enough is Enough!”
    ———————————————————————————-

    ** DR. TOM ZIMMERMAN ACTUALLY INTERVIEWED JOY COLLURA?

    Even before I saw on page 113 of the SAIR report that he HAD been hired ( as a private consultant ) to the SAIT… I thought I had seen that name somewhere before.

    Sure enough… Joy Collura herself posted his name back in Chapter SEVEN of this ongoing discussion. The date was June 26, 2014… just a few days before the first ‘anniversary’ of the tragedy.

    CONTEXT: At that point… Chapter SEVEN was actively discussing Mike Dudley’s June 20, 2014 speech to that roomful of Utah firefighters. Joy Collura posted an additional YouTube link to Dudley’s speech, and also then said that she, herself, had had her own ‘contact’ with SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley.

    Joy Collura then posted two EMAILS.with original dates of August 13, 2013.

    One was her contacting Dudley asking why the SAIT had not bothered to interview either her or Tex ( Sonny ) Gilligan yet.

    Mike Dudley actually REPLIED to Joy’s email and Joy reprinted that email as well.

    Dudley’s REPLY said they ( the SAIT ) WOULD like to talk with her and Mr. Gilligan… and would even like to have a teleconference call with them.

    Dudley’s email response to Joy said that ( in addition to some others ) the participants in the teleconference would be himself ( Dudley ) and someone named Dr. Tom Zimmerman.

    Here is that exact posting from Joy Collura back in Chapter SEVEN…

    Joy was answering a message post about the Dudley VIDEO
    that had come from Mr. Bob Powers…
    —————————————————————————-
    On June 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm, Joy A. Collura said…

    Bob Powers—you are too funny…

    You sound like the email I got from Sonny.

    I had to educate Sonny as I will you too—

    The speaker in that video led the SAIR investigation- his name is Mike Dudley.
    I thought it was a decent video but it did not teach these firefighting community
    the proper assessment to the YHF was all—

    I sent him (Mike Dudley) an email Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2013 7:50 PM

    (Content of email:)

    We were at the fire line and curious to know why you all have not contacted us as
    witness’ as well as for the footage you can see on my hiking partner’s hiking page
    in comment wall she has a lot of photos from that day-
    not from highway or home backyard but there where the Hotshots were-
    we had meter readings at 43mph not 80-90 like Willis states
    and we know for fact that area did not have 10 ft chaparral but maybe wide
    intertwined and realistic it was 6ft max and the saddest part was the low altitude
    hovering/observing aircrafts that were not putting out any fires yet we did see indeed
    much fanning of the fire-
    We have much detail to that morning and afternoon- )

    And he ( Mike Dudley ) replied Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    (Content of his email:)

    ** START OF MIKE DUDLEY’S EMAIL TO JOY

    Good morning Tex and Joy,

    Thanks for making contact with me. We had been alerted to your presence that day by the reporter from the Prescott paper and she gave us the pictures that were used in the article.

    However, we did not get a contact number to reach you.

    We would like to interview you and your hiking partner as to what you encountered and your observations. More importantly, what route you took to leave the area.

    Then phone conference 8/13/13 2:04 PM – 2:48 PM – Washington
    Tim Foley ( t1foley (at ) hotmail.com,
    incident meteorologist Brent Wachter,
    Richa Wilson (rwilson (at) fs.fed.us), and
    Wildland Fire Leadership- retired US Forestry-
    Tom Zimmerman (his link),
    Mike Dudley ( Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 6:35 AM )
    USDA Forest Service
    mdudley (at) fs.fed.us
    801-540-4881

    I’d like to schedule a time to call you tomorrow if possible. Please let me know what time works for you.

    Thank you.

    Mike Dudley
    USDA Forest Service
    mdudley@fs.fed.us
    801-540-4881

    ** END OF MIKE DUDLEY’S EMAIL TO JOY

    That was our dealings with that speaker. I just wish because he is so at ease and comfortable and easy to listen to that he said a little more on the golden rules being broken and the cardinal rules too that were broken because that is unfair to the men and women listening to him. See how I use to say Jim Karels backing up the SAIRS did a great disservice — I now think this kind of speaking does too.
    —————————————————————————-

    So there was Mike Dudley, on August 13, 2013, replying to Joy Collura’s email, askiing for a possible teleconference, and (apparently) listing the people ( from the SAIT ) that would be participatiing in that teleconference.

    Dr. Tom Zimmerman was right there on the list.

  8. Marti Reed says

    I want to post this to the top, as it kind of summarizes what I believe is the gist of what I think has been most of the long and winding conversation today:

    Bob Powers says
    MARCH 5, 2015 AT 11:34 AM

    You are right also the big problem we are finding on Yarnell was the team.
a short team slapped to gather with missing parts that do not train to gather or work as a unit is a bad situation which on call teams were suppose to fix.
Even short teams should be called from a on call type 2 team.
that way the short team can fill needed members as the situation dictates.
Having division bosses that are not use to a team concept just adds to the confusion. The FBAN should be in contact with the divisions. providing updated input. More evidence of a poorly managed fire.

    Reply

    Marti Reed says
    MARCH 5, 2015 AT 7:58 PM

    I totally agree with you.

    Reply

    Marti Reed says
    MARCH 5, 2015 AT 8:19 PM

    Which is why I repeatedly say that, in looking for the factors that set the stage for the demise of the Granite Mountain 19, I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope the responsible investigators will look as far UP as they look DOWN.

    I have pretty much accepted the most likely probability that some combination of Eric Marsh’s and Jesse Steed’s FAULTY decision-making will prove to have been the proximate cause of the deaths of the GM 19.

    And I, honestly, all things considered, find that really really PAINFUL. Like I’ve said, I’ve wept more tears over this than I have over my own mother’s death. It’s just so AWFUL.

    But, that being the case.

    The MANAGEMENT of this whole fire, from the absolute get-go was (and needs to be RECOGNIZED as) equally NEGLIGENT.

    Which is why, at this point, I am, to be honest, mystified as to why Elizabeth isn’t, in her search for reasons to absolve Eric Marsh, looking in the direction of this whole realm.

    I really do believe that if this fire hadn’t been so negligently mismanaged from the top down, the Granite Mountain Hotshots would still be alive today.

    Complete with all the “bad habits with good outcomes” that some of those who know them have whispered to others, and that show up, periodically, as do those of a whole lot of other Wildland Firefighters.

    Reply

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      On a smartphone a the moment ( or, as some now call then, a ‘stupidphone’ ) so have to keep this short. Just 2 quick points.

      1) Agree about “Death from ABOVE” and any analysis needs to look just as far UP the chain as down. It could NOT have been good to have an IC ( Roy Hall ) who was that TOTALLY DISENGAGED from the fire he was hired to fight and so TOTALLY PREOCCUPIED with just making the paperwork ‘look good’. On a certain level… I still can’t believe what a FREE RIDE this IC Roy Hall has always been getting with regards to EVERYTHING that went wrong here. It was, ultimately, HIS fire…. and he’s been treated like he was some kind of impartial ‘UN Observer’ that day, or something. In charge… but NOT really responsible for ANYTHING.

      2) I think this entire deal where Arizona just calls up a bunch of RETIRED guys and throws them together to PRETEND to be a no-shit Type 2 team ( long or short ) has to stop.
      What you get is this hodge-podge of RETIRED guys who may ( or may NOT ) know how to work with each other… and spend too much precious time figuring OUT how to do that.
      There is a REASON that you bring in TEAMS. That implies you going to get people who already KNOW how to hit the ground running and KNOW how to work REALLY WELL together and not have to ‘ramp up’ to get there.

      The dis-jointed, haphazard management that day had EVERYTHING to do with what was going to happen in the afternoon.

      Example: I just got done below answering Rocksteady in that discussion about the FBAN position… and pointed out the fact that there is NO EVIDENCE in FBAN Byron Kimball’s ADOSH testimony that anyone was EVER asking him to make ANY predictions about what the fire might actually DO that day. They were treating him ( and he was just ACCEPTING the role ) as just “the weather guy”… and even then only to just pass on NWS announcements over the radio.

      There is NO EVIDENCE that he ever even MET SPGS1 Gary Cordes that day… who was the one who personally set those THREE crucial ‘trigger points’ for Yarnell.

      Not even one bit of evidence to prove that this Structure Protection guy ever even consulted with the on-site on-salary FBAN before he set 3 crucial trigger points for an entire TOWN on the SOUTH end of the fire.

      FBAN Byron Kimball wasn’t even AWARE he had done that.

      Then Gary Cordes’ mantra following the incident was simply “The fire exceeded our expectations”.

      Really? WHOSE expectations? There is NO EVIDENCE that the ‘Type 2 Short’ team FBAN was even ‘in the loop’ when those ‘expectations’ were formed or when those crucial trigger points were set by just a Structure Protection guy on the south side of the fire.

      What if Cordes had been REQUIRED to at least check with the on-site, on-salary FBAN about those ‘trigger points”? Maybe the FBAN would have understood how inadequate they might become and would have made OTHER recommendations.

      And if just THAT one thing had happened… a LOT of other things would have then been happening in a completely different timeframe that day… including actions and events directly related to the Granite Mountain tragedy.

      So yes… there very much was a “Death from ABOVE” component to the fatalities in Yarnell that day that hasn’t been fully vetted yet. No question.

      Okay… sorry… that wasn’t as ‘quick’ a response as I planned and that’s more hunt-and-peck typing on a ‘stupidphone’ than I ever intend to do again.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        One quick followup…

        Imagine this scenario.

        If the “Incident Commander” had been paying attention… what would he have said if he learned that some Structure Protection guy on the south end of the fire had willy-nilly set all THREE of the critical ‘trigger points’ for an entire TOWN… and ALL the firefighters working there to ‘protect it’… WITHOUT having either ever MET or CONSULTED with the on-site on-salary ‘Type 2 Team’ FBAN?

        Maybe even Roy Hall wouldn’t have cared… but I think any number of other “Incident Commanders” would have responded with a healthy WTF… and then would at least have had the Team’s own FBAN take a look at the ‘trigger points’.

      • Marti Reed says

        Actually, to be perfectly honest………….

        I’d be totally OK with absolving Roy Hall of most of his sins…….
        all things considered………

        IF and ONLY if…….

        a LASER BEAM was focused on PHOENIX..

        I don’t know WHO in Phoenix, but SOMEONE.

        This has been increasingly bugging me for months.

        I’ll write my relatively long LIST of what that LASER BEAM needs to focus on tomorrow morning, when it’s not time for me to fall asleep like I’m doing right now.

  9. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to rocksteady post on March 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    NOTE: ‘rocksteady’ is a certified “Fire Behavior Analyst’ ( FBAN )

    ( EMPHASIS added below is mine )

    >> rocksteady said…
    >>
    >> I look at my job as being a SAFETY OFFICER, specializing in weather AND
    >> fire behaviour, looking out for FIRE FIGHTER SAFETY.
    >> No one else in the ICS structure is specifically designated to cover
    >> this, so I take it very seriously.

    This was a VERY important statement that just ‘flew by’ with all kinds of relevant implications in the “Lessons to Learn” category… and I didn’t want it to get “lost in the weeds”.

    Marti even raised the obvious question again down below when she pointed out that other then letting FBAN Byron Kimball come on the radio and just regurgitate some National Weather Service bulletings… there isn’t much evidence that ANYONE in management was either closely consulting with FBAN Kimball that day OR ( even if they were ) taking him very seriously.

    There weren’t even any ACTUAL ‘Safety Officers’ there in Yarnell until much later in the day and one of them only arrived just minutes before 19 firefighters were going to have to deploy because they made poor ‘risk management’ decisions.

    I’m with Mari on this one.

    It is PUZZLING what the ICS management really thinks the FBAN position is even FOR.

    Just keep track of the weather and let them talk on the radio every now and then?

    The other ‘disturbing’ thing that has always been on my mind while studying this whole ICS management structure thingy is emphasized by the second part of the comment…

    >> No one else in the ICS structure is specifically designated to cover
    >> this, so I take it very seriously.

    That really does seem to be the case… both here in Canda and the USA ( and probably anywhere this ICS system is in use? ).

    Think about it.

    The ICS system has to include a ‘Fire Behavior Analyst” ( who may or may not even be being taken seriously and just viewed as a ‘weather man’ )… because (apparently) the other people who get hired to actually RUN a fire don’t seem to be required to fully understand “Fire Behavior”?

    That just seems like quite an ANOMALY to me.

    It’s not like the people who rise to the levels of ‘Incident Commanders’ and ‘Operations Level Supervisors’ and even ‘Division Supervisors’ are being paid to hang drywall.

    They are ALL there to FIGHT FIRE.

    But they allowed to be ‘red-carded’ to these positions WITHOUT demonstrating a pretty damn good knowledge of how FIRE even BEHAVES?

    They have to rely on just some ONE other person to have enough of a grasp about FIRE BEHAVIOR for them to even FIGHT the FIRE?

    There just seems to be something very, very ‘out of whack’ about that.

    That’s almost like saying there is no requirement for airline pilots to look out their window and have a fully understanding of the weather they can see out ahead of them… and the ‘system’ is designed to allow them to just call someone up into the cockpit to tell them what that ‘weather’ means to them and the passengers.

    Bad analogy maybe… but my thinking really is along those lines.

    WHY are there not more stringent requirements for people getting red-carded as ICs, OPS, and DIVS to demonstrate a full grasp and wide range of understanding of FIRE BEHAVIOR when it is their JOB to FIGHT FIRE ( and tell others how to go about it ).

    Is it an ‘educational level’ thing?

    Is it because the people filling those ICS positions don’t normally have the ability to ACHIEVE FBAN status… so they had to drop that requirement for those positions and just make sure there’s at least one guy on the team who DOES really understand ‘FIRE BEHAVIOR’?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Apologies Typo above. I misspelled Marti’s name.

      Should have been this…

      >> I’m with Marti on this one.
      >> It is PUZZLING what the ICS management really thinks the FBAN position is even FOR.

    • Bob Powers says

      WTKTT — Maybe I can help here———-
      Many Forest and District FMO’s have a back ground in FBAN as the put together Burn plans for their District and Forest. Complicated plans sometimes take a Specialist in FBAN.
      I am saying most have gone to training on Fire Behavior Annalists. as part of their training packet.
      Most if not all OPS and IC”s have had that training.
      FBAN is also a intricate part of the PLANNING SECTION as is the Safety Officer.
      In type 1 and 2 teams the FBAN works with the Planning Section Chief for the Shift plans
      and during the Shift keeps up with the weather.

      So I am saying the overhead on the fire especially the OPS and IC have a good background in FBAN. It is not a step child position. Again this fire was very strange and out of wak with the norm.
      No plans or update of plans for the day shift on Yarnell???????

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Bob Powers post on March 5, 2015 at 3:32 pm

        >> Bob Powers said…
        >>
        >> So I am saying the overhead on the fire especially the OPS
        >> and IC have a good background in FBAN.

        Copy that… and thank you for replying.

        Yes… I would imagine that whether or not you are REQUIRED to have extensive “Fire Behavior” Training ( under MANY types of conditions and circumstances )… if you do NOT have a good grasp on that OR you lack the ability to fully understand what your ‘actual’ FBANs are telling you… that you wouldn’t last long in those IC / OPS positions ( or end up just not getting hired much )…

        …but my thoughts lately have been more along the lines of…

        What are these people REQUIRED to know, or be able to understand, before they get red-card-punched for IC / OPS / DIV, etc.

        I have been looking and looking at the OFFICIAL ‘qualifications’ and ‘prerequisites’ for these positions in the OFFICIAL NWCG documents… and to be honest… I’m not seeing much.

        The document I am studying is the following…

        A Publication of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group ( NWCG )
        National Incident Management System
        Wildland Fire Qualifications System Guide
        Updated: October, 2014
        http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/docs/pms310-1.pdf

        I’m not ready to say for sure and certain that extensive ‘fire behavior’ studies or knowledge is NOT present somewhere in the ‘ladder climb’ to the IC / OPS and DIVS positions… because ( as you know ) the ‘prerequisites’ are like a ‘pyramid’ that has to be studied very carefully…

        …but after at least 3 passes at this document I am still scratching my head.

        It does NOT appear that demonstrating any kind of REAL grasp on ‘fire behavior’ in all different kinds of fuel types and under all different types of conditions really is any kind of REQUIRED knowledge for some of these higher level ICS management positions.

        That’s all I’m saying.

        I would ASSUME it is ( a full blown REQUIREMENT )… but so far I’m not seeing the actual PROOF that it is… even in the NWCG documents themselves.

        More on this later. It’s a complicated ‘qualifications’ document and I’ve only been through it about 3 times so far.

        • Bob Powers says

          The Climb to those positions starts at the FF level each ascending position requires certain training and assignments as you advance every thing is connected as you move higher and higher in the fire organization.
          Some courses may not be fire position specific but are part of you job training
          to function both on and off fires.
          My old Boss and Type 1 IC who was in charge of a large part of the Yellow Stone Fires with his team Started as a FF Crew Boss Sector boss Hot shot superintendent and worked his way to Forest FMO He had a breadth of knowledge by going to many training class and on the ground knowledge
          to achieve the IC level. Most good IC’s are that level of a Fireman.
          So look from the beginning to end for their training There are week and strong qualifications not all will ever meet the Strong Qualifications. It is up to the Regions who select their teams to select the BEST.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Bob Powers post on March 5, 2015 at 10:16 pm

            >> Bob Powers wrote…
            >>
            >> The Climb to those positions starts at the FF level each
            >> ascending position requires certain training and assignments
            >> as you advance every thing is connected as you move higher
            >> and higher in the fire organization.

            Yes. It’s obviously a PYRAMID. That’s why even the NWCG Qualifications document needs to be studied carefully ( which is what I’m in the process of doing ).

            >> Bob Powers also said…
            >>
            >> Some courses may not be fire position specific but are
            >> part of you job training to function both on and off fires.

            Yes… you can see that at both the TOP and BOTTOM of the
            ‘pecking order’. Low level FFX are obviously NOT required to be any kind of ‘fire behavior’ experts just to get out on the line and get to work… but at the same time… it doesn’t LOOK like the people at the TOP ( other than actual FBANs ) are required to know much about it, either.

            Whatever is REQUIRED as you ‘climb’ has to be somewhere in the middle of the pecking order… but I honestly haven’t found exactly WHERE that is, yet. At least not in the official NwCG Qualifications document.

            >> Bob Powers also said…
            >>
            >> Most good IC’s are that level of a Fireman.

            I’m sure they are. Like you said ( and I agreed with )… if you haven’t picked up some pretty good ‘fire behavior’ training skills along the ladder-climb… you probably don’t last long ( or get hired much ) as an IC.

            >> Bob Powers also said…
            >>
            >> So look from the beginning to end for their training

            That’s what I’m doing… but to be clear… my quest at the moment is not to know where any particular ‘fireman’ accumulated his ‘fire behavior’ training or knowledge… my quest at the moment is to identify WHERE in the NWCG Qualifications Document it is actually CODIFED that that kind of GOOD subset of FBAN training is REQUIRED before you can even achieve the ‘next level’.

            In all honesty… unless someone is actually on the FBAN track and actually trying to add THAT rating to their red-card… I’m not exactly seeing WHERE that point actually IS in the ‘climb up the ladder’.

            >> Bob Powers…
            >>
            >> There are week and strong qualifications not all will ever
            >> meet the Strong Qualifications. It is up to the Regions
            >> who select their teams to select the BEST.

            And there are also obviously the MAINTAIN CURRENCY requirements for each and every position.

            As far as I can tell ( so far ) there may have been some point in the pre-DIVS, pre-OPS, pre-IC pecking order where you had to take some significant subset of the same courses someone on an actual FBAN track would… but there is definitely NO REQUIREMENT at the DIVS or OPS or IC level to stay CURRENT on that.

            According to what I’m seeing already in the NWCG Qualifications document… the only people who are REQUIRED to not treat ‘Fire Behavior” training as a ‘one-shot-deal’ thing are the ones actually trying to meet the ‘RETAIN CURRENCY’ requirements for actual FBAN or LTAN ratings.

            In other words… even if a DIVS or an OPS or an IC ‘picked up’ some subset of the actual FBAN course requirements somewhere along the way… there is NO requirement at those position levels to ever stay CURRENT on those quals. It’s a one-shot-deal for DIVS, OPS and IC levels.

            That still strikes me as kind of strange.

            Still researching this… but THANK YOU for the input.

            • Bob Powers says

              You may not find what you are looking for in this new age it may be only a working knowledge of certain fire positions as wild land fire has become more job specific and people are no longer being certified in special categories. Air Attack, FBAN, Finance, Safety Officer, Planning,
              All have specific training and background qualifications. So working knowledge may be all the training you get anymore.
              There are general FBAN books that can help provide estimates of spread based on the fuels wind and topography. For specifics and professional predictions you rely on the well trained and certified.
              like rocksteady in todays drought driven fires…..

    • rocksteady says

      The IC/OPS do understand fire behaviour, they just do not go through the significant training and mentoring that an FBAN does (computer modelling, etc).

      As I said down below, FBANs are technical specilasts. An IC does not need to know how to manage an air tanker fleet, he delegates that to an air group supervisor (another technical specialist type role.

      The IC/OPS have to take the information provided from the FBAN and utilizie it in the execution of their operational plan. SOme IC/OPS take that seriously, some blow it off, like you say, “You are a weatherman”…. (Which we arent, but) and an attitude of “that prediction will never happen”…

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to rocksteady post on March 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm

        >> rocksteady said…
        >>
        >> The IC/OPS do understand fire behaviour, they just do not go
        >> through the significant training and mentoring that an FBAN
        >> does (computer modelling, etc).

        Copy… and thanks… but there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between what qualifies as SIGNIFICANT TRAINING… and just sort of “knowing a little bit about it”.

        Yes… the NWCG quals for FBAN ( and LTAN ) are WELL defined in the NWCG Qualifications Standards documents. Heavy stuff required for THOSE ratings.

        The actual REQUIREMENTS for other crucial ‘FIRE FIGHTING’ positions like IC, OPS, DIVS?… not so much.

        The document I am studying is the following…

        A Publication of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group ( NWCG )
        National Incident Management System
        Wildland Fire Qualifications System Guide
        Updated: October, 2014
        http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/docs/pms310-1.pdf

        What I am looking for is the PROOF that IC / OPS / DIVS all MUST have a certain level ( or subset ) of FBAN training in order to be qualified for THOSE jobs.

        So far… I’m NOT seeing it.

        I’ve only been through that document about 3 times and it’s complicated ( quals are on a pyramid scale )… but I’m going to keep looking at that document.

        >> rocksteady also said…
        >>
        >> The IC/OPS have to take the information provided from the FBAN
        >> and utilizie it in the execution of their operational plan.

        In the case of Yarnell… not only was there NO actual ‘operational plan’ ( IAP ) in place on Sunday, June 30, 2013… there is also NO evidence that FBAN Byron Kimball was actively involved that day with anything other than relaying NWS weather reports as they became available.

        I have just finished re-reading ADOSH’s interview with FBAN Byron Kimball.

        At NO TIME in his interview does he say that ANYONE ever really ASKED him anything about what the fire might do.

        Roy let him do the ‘Fire Behavior Analysis’ part of the 9:00 AM briefing at the ICP that morning… and Kimball DID ‘announce’ to those present ( which wasn’t even that many people at that early hour that day ) the usual extreme-fire-conditions-present and watch-out-if-fire-is-below-you and watch-out-for-outbursts-from-possible-thunderstorms, yada, yada… standard kit stuff…

        …but then FBAN Byron Kimball apparently just roamed around the area for the rest of the day taking pictures and not really interacting much with ANYONE.

        There was the occasional cellphone call to OPS Abel and he says later on he stuck his head in IC Roy Hall’s office later that day… but Hall was totally preoccupied with evacuating the actual ICP at that time….

        …but NOT ONCE does FBAN Byron Kimball say he had ANY conversations with ANYONE actually ‘running’ the fire about “Fire Behavior” itself.

        He really was just “the weather guy” that day.

        No one was even ASKING him what he thought the FIRE might do.

        Not even SPGS Gary Cordes… who is the one who set those THREE different ‘trigger points’ for the fire coming into Yarnell.

        Cordes didn’t even make it to the 9:00 AM ICP briefing that morning when Kimball WAS doing his FBAN presentation.

        There is NO evidence that Cordes EVER consulted with FBAN Kimball about setting these critical ‘trigger points’ on the SOUTH end of the fire.

        Matter of fact… there is NO EVIDENCE that FBAN Byron Kimball and SPGS1 Gary Cordes ever even MET that day… or had even ONE conversation about ANYTHING, much less about the FIRE and what it was EXPECTED to do at any time that day.

        According to FBAN Byron Kimball’s ADOSH testimony… FBAN Kimball was not even AWARE that some Structure Protection guy had willy-nilly set THREE different geographical ( and CRUCIAL ) “trigger points” in relation to an entire TOWN on the SOUTH end of the fire… WITHOUT bothering to even consult with the licensed FBAN ( Kimball ) who was there working the fire.

        Kimball didn’t even hear any of the radio traffic about any of these trigger points being met… nor did he even hear any deployment traffic because ( in his own words ) he said he turns his radio OFF when he’s out ‘taking cool fire behavior pictures’ as he was doing most of that day.

        >> rocksteady also said…
        >>
        >> Some IC/OPS take that seriously, some blow it off, like you say, “You
        >> are a weatherman”…. (Which we arent, but) and an attitude of “that
        >> prediction will never happen”…

        Again… as far as Yarnell and June 30, 2013 goes… there is NO EVIDENCE that the on-site on-salary FBAN ( Byron Kimball ) was even MAKING any ‘predictions’ at all… nor was anyone in fire command even ASKING him to.

        A lot of this goes back to FBAN Kimball himself, however.

        They were TREATING him as just the “weather guy”… but he was ACCEPTING that limited role that day and not even TRYING to advise anyone what the fire might or might not do. He just waited until he got ‘weather updates’… then stopped taking pictures,, turned his radio back on and made ‘weather announcements’.

        • rocksteady says

          First of all, no disrespect is meant to Mr. Kimball. As I said previously every FBAN has their own style and I am not about to criticize Kimball without knowing the exact details of how he operates and what he did that day.

          I watched the news coverage of the deployment at home and I did not sleep that night. I kept asking myself “How in the world could this ever happen??”

          The next morning, I fired up my computer, gathered weather forecasts and weather readings from the internet from the Weather Channel or some such site, opened up my behaviour prediction software, entered some data (real readings from the local area , made a few assumptions (about 10, 100 hr fuels) and generated some rates of spread predictions. Then I took and changed the wind speed ONLY at 10 mph incriments. I reported all of this info on IM about how many chains per hour teh little black box was predicting spread. It took me no more than 15 minutes.

          IN A PERFECT WORLD, an FBAN should have his finger on the pulse of behaviour, all day. For example… Generate a forecast in teh morning, when the weather service broadcast the thundercell warning, jump back on the computer, recalculate the rates of spread, do up an UPDATED behaviour advisory, take it directly to the OPS/IC and DEMAND that it gets disseminated to all crews on the fireline. During and after the event, gather intel (radio/cell/one on one discussions) to validate that prediction.

          Sometimes you have to be an aggressive FBAN to get your point across to the OPS/IC. Under normal fire beahviour, FBAN just sort of sits in the shadows, doing morning briefings, behaviour prediction and then wanders around the fireline taking pictures, taking weather readings and measuring rates of spread and fuel moisture contents….

          The morning after the event, I watch CNN and they said the forecast for Yarnell that day was 100+ F, single digit rh and winds of 15 to 20 mph. Without even opening the software, I said “Oh shit, they are gonna have a tough day…” At those sort of numbers you do not have to be an FBAN to figure out its gonna be a bad day, even a first year fire fighter should have had enough training to put them on alert, if not the first year, the Crew Boss/Sup or Asst Sup should have had red flags waving like the 4th of JUly.

          At those sort of numbers, the chances of direct attack being successful are super slim. Going indirect and burning off is the only high probability tactic. IMHO.

          Once again, I am not criticizing Mr. Kimball. He has his style, may not be the same as mine. I am unsure if the FBAN position (roles and responsibilities) is taught the exact same way in Canada as it is in the US.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            rocksteady… thanks again for yet another VERY informative and relevant reply.

            I assure you… FBAN Byron Kimball did NO fire-spread models for Yarnell on Sunday even though he had his computer ( a laptop ) with him.

            He, himself, told ADOSH investigators he never did.

            Kimball told ADOSH he didn’t have TIME to do that prior to the 9:00 AM meeting at the ICP when he gave his “Fire Behavior” presentation.. even though his presentation DID emphasize the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms, likely strong outflow winds, and also very likely sudden fire line reversals.

            He went about his own business taking measurements and pictures most of the rest of the day and never fired up his laptop to do any predictive modeling until (apparently) sometime around 10 PM Sunday NIGHT… hours AFTER the deployment.

            I will post those relevant lines from his ADOSH testimony when I can… but I’m on a ‘dumbphone’ again and don’t have those PDF files with me right now.

  10. rocksteady says

    Go to Wildfire Today, scroll down toe the 5th article.

    500 flee fire in South Africa

    Look at the Twitter picture. What does that tell you?

    To me…firefighters make mistakes internationally and make the same mistakes.

    If the South African WFF’s were in chaparral, they too would be dead..

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to rocksteady post on March 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      >> rocksteady said…
      >>
      >> Go to Wildfire Today, scroll down toe the 5th article.
      >> 500 flee fire in South Africa
      >> Look at the Twitter picture. What does that tell you?
      >> To me…firefighters make mistakes internationally and make the same mistakes.
      >> If the South African WFF’s were in chaparral, they too would be dead..

      The direct link to the Wildfire Today page with this article and photo is…

      http://wildfiretoday.com/

      That photo is just crazy. Is that one guy’s pant leg actually already ON FIRE?

      Looks like it.

      And just like here in the USA… you can have a picture of Firefighters standing waist-deep in flames and you will STILL get people commenting on the photo about what HEROES they are…

      Here is the exact CAPTION for that Twitter photo showing these men on the verge of burning to death because they weren’t frickin’ paying attention to their circumstances.

      Mr. A
      @Just_Ahwa
      S/O to the brave men & women battling with the fire on the mountain.
      U guys are the real superheroes. #CapeTownFire

      >> rocksteady
      >> To me…firefighters make mistakes internationally and make the same mistakes.

      I guess the “Normalization of Deviance” means the same thing in ANY language… and it knows no borders. “Stupid is as stupid does” is a pretty universal concept as well.

      Also… look at the third picture down from the top on that ‘WildFire Today’ page of the FF walking along using his drip torch.

      His Nomex shirt sleeves are FULLY rolled down. No skin showing.

      Unlike that picture of Robert Caldwell that Christopher Mackenzie took the morning of June 30, 2013. Caldwell is holding his (lghted) drip-torch with his sleeves rolled UP and his bare forearm showing.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to rocksteady post on March 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      >> rocksteady said…
      >>
      >> Go to Wildfire Today, scroll down toe the 5th article.
      >> 500 flee fire in South Africa
      >> Look at the Twitter picture. What does that tell you?

      Here is a DIRECT link to a full-size verions of the ‘Twitter’ picture itself
      sitting on the WildFire Today server…

      http://wildfiretoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/FirefightersAndFlames.jpg

      Photo caption should really be…

      SEE THIS?… DON’T EVER, EVER DO THIS! NOT EVER!

  11. Elizabeth says

    Regarding the 10 and the 18 and LCES:
    Bob Powers said “the 10 and 18 will keep you out of any bad situation….”

    This is not true. Uber-extreme fire behavior is not yet 100% predictable with certainty and precision, such that it is possible to accord with the 10 and 18 and LCES and *STILL* end up in a bad situation. If you doubt me, listen to former Hotshot Superintendent Kenny Jordan at 8:45 into the below-linked video:
    https://vimeo.com/102706656

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      As was just explained to you down below… the analogy of the “Rules of the Road” apply.

      NO set of established “Motor Vehicle Operation Rules” or “Rules of the Road” can predict all the things that might happen OR be guaranteed to prevent an ‘accident’….

      …but if you do NOT follow these RULES… and you end up killing someone… you WILL be charged with ‘manslaughter’.

      You have been NEGLIGENT in your responsibilites as the Operator of a Vehicle.

      Everyone here knows that a big part of your agenda and EVERY post you make is an attempt to NORMALIZE all the decision making that took place in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

      That’s because you also KNOW what the legal definition of NEGLIGENCE is.

      Give it up, counselor.

      You’re not fooling anyone ( not HERE, anyway ).

      • Bob Powers says

        Elizabeth– Kenny was the first to admit he stayed to long to make sure his crew got out.
        Also he said he moved down from his regular spot that was his SZ to another rock below him which put him way closer to the Heated air. Even with all of this he used his Fire shelter in a SZ and survived.
        The 10 and 18 were not violated what is your point. ??????
        The 10 and 18 served me for 33 years how dare you as a non Fire Fighter tell me they don’t work. I know 100’s of people that would tell you that you are full of BULL SHIT they followed the 10 and 18 for their entire carriers and never I REPEAT NEVER WERE COUGHT IN A BURN OVER OR LOST 1 FF TO INJURY OR DEATH.
        From HS Super. to Crew Boss, STLDR, DIVS, and yes to fully qualified IC’s with type 1 Teams. !0 and 18’s were part of every shift briefing and emphasized every shift. The Teams still do that today ……………
        Any one who says different is full of shit—————-

        • Elizabeth says

          Bob, I never said they don’t work! Go back and re-read what I said before you spew lies about me again.

          • Bob Powers says

            You want to call me a Lier then prove I am Wrong
            other wise go to hell————–
            You uber-extreme is also full of shit. no such condition————

            • Elizabeth says

              Bob, you said to me ” how dare you as a non Fire Fighter tell me they don’t work.” I NEVER told you that the 10 and the 18 and LCES do not work. I said that it is possible to follow them to the letter and STILL end up in a bad situation. So you DID lie. You lied about what I “[told] you.” I NEVER told you that they do not work. That is a LIE.
              My point was that it is possible to follow them and STILL get in a bad situation.

                • Elizabeth says

                  You are kidding, right? The guy told me to “go to hell.” Are you going to chastize him or just me? 😉

                  • Bob Powers says

                    No you are an Idiot go to hell– follow the rules and stay safe what bad situations where???
                    If you follow the rules you will not get into bad situations show me the fires and what happened and Ill bet the person did not follow a rule or more than on rule.
                    Other wise TROLLLLLLLL

                    • Bob Powers says

                      And what did I say Kenny Said he maid two mistakes.
                      1. He waited to long to retreat to the safety zone.

                      2. He moved down the rock from a higher spot
                      and ended up closer to the radiated funneled heat and had to deploy.

                      He in fact followed the procedures just pushed the enveloped to far. A large difference from
                      following the 1o and still getting into trouble.

                      Had he stuck to his plan he would have been in the SZ with the crew. He made the decision not to follow that plan.

          • rocksteady says

            Bob said the 10 and 18 will keep you out of a bad situation, you said NO based on Kenny’s interview.

            Even though Kenny was cleared of the 10 and 18 investigation, it does not mean that he did not just meet the benchmark for each…

            In “uber-fires” it is even more critical that the 10, 18, sitautional awareness, communications, planning, lookouts, escape routes, safety zones etc are followed, maybe even to a higher standard, due to the fire behaviour.

            • Elizabeth says

              Rocksteady, we do not disagree – I agree with your point. My only point was that, given how unpredictable uber-extreme fire behavior can be, it is possible to follow the 10 and 18 and LCES and STILL end up in a bad situation. Apparently something MORE than the 10 and 18 and LCES is needed, but I have no idea what that is because I am not a WFF! 🙂

              Bob said: “Bob Powers said “the 10 and 18 will keep you out of any bad situation….”
              I responded by saying: “This is not true. Uber-extreme fire behavior is not yet 100% predictable with certainty and precision, such that it is possible to accord with the 10 and 18 and LCES and *STILL* end up in a bad situation. If you doubt me, listen to former Hotshot Superintendent Kenny Jordan at 8:45 into the below-linked video:”

              • Bob Powers says

                Elizabeth
                Get over it you are wrong and trying to fit another analogy into the GM decision process. Human factors create a non reliance on safety do to may factors.

                TO THE REST OF YOU
                My conclusion and training of Fire fighters for many years has been if you Memorize the 10 Standard orders use them ALL the time they become mentally imprinted on your mind and when
                Human factors happen because of many things including Fatigue you will always fall back to the imprinted SAFETY——-
                SIMPLE BUT WORKS

                • Bob Powers says

                  The 10 and 18 are not just a US of A safety for Wild land Fire Fighters
                  Other countries have adopted them why because they cover the safety needs of every Wild Land Fire Fighter.
                  Proven over the years to work in any corner of the world.
                  The 18 has also been adopted.
                  Don’t believe me Elizabeth check it out??????????

    • rocksteady says

      Sorry EN, I call bullshit!

      Just because Kenny (no disrespect to him) got checked off on all 10 and 18 does not mean that he did his job to the best abilities of risk management.

      He stated they were on top of the ledge, big column of black smoke, looked over the edgeand saw fire on HIS side of the line and he said “I did not expect that”….. Lets analyze that. So, he is an experienced WFF, on top of a steep ridge (knows how fire can run up hill) peeks over and does not expect to see fire on his side of the line… WHY NOT???? Analyzing current and predicted fire behaviour, as well as situational awareness (top of slope) he would have realized that if something started in the bottom it would run like a jet to the top.

      From the information he gave prior to the point where he talked about being checked off, lets analyze that….

      21 days straight, working 16 hours a day, released, driving for R&R, reassigned. 24 hour shift, 30 minutes sleep, another 24, another 30 minutes sleep..

      You think maybe prolonged fatigue had impaired his thought process??? I BET YOU It DID. If he was on day 1 after a 3 day rest period, he may have been more hesitant to engage or would have used a different tactic…

      Again, no disrespect to Mr. Jordan….

      • Elizabeth says

        Rocksteady, I’m not sharing my own personal view – I don’t have one, because I know nothing about the fire or the shelter deployment. Rather, Kenny says in his interview that there was an investigation and he was out of work for roughly 400 days (?) while the investigation of his shelter deployment was done. The investigator ultimately concluded – presumably after investigating over the course of those hundreds of days – that Kenny was not acting in violation of the 10 and the 18.
        I guess you are saying that the investigation was B.S. or the investigator was B.S.? To be clear, I am no fan of many investigations, but I would not have thought that the investigator would err on the side of NOT pointing the finger at Kenny. My impression from guys like Bob and Fred is that USFS investigators are viewed as throwing guys like Kenny under the bus….. So, if the investigator found in favor of Kenny, that sort of suggests something, I would think. Maybe I am completely wrong on this, though.

        • rocksteady says

          Maybe at the time of that investigation they did not find people responsible for who knows what reason. “Old Boys Club”??? “Sweeping it under teh carpet”???

          If it was so cut and dry that he had not violated the 10 and 18, it would not have taken 400+ days. No?

          I would like to see an epilogue of this interview, with Kenny being asked one question….

          “With hindsight being 20/20, how would you have done things differently?”

          This epilogue would provide teh learnables from an experienced WFF who got caught in a life thretening situation and should be able to identify to the whole community what went wrong, more then likely in a thought process or decision making event.

          • Bob Powers says

            ELIZABETH—-Where dose Kenny say any thing about being laid off for 400 Days –I find nothing on that nor would it be common in the FS on any investigation. There are Federal rules protecting Employees. be fore any kind of reprimand can be initiated.

            • rocksteady says

              He did not say laid off in teh video, he said he was off work, so I would assume “off with pay”., pending outcome of teh investigation..

              • Bob Powers says

                Seems Like a Long time and probably was assigned another job
                but the Feds have rules and I have not seen any one laid off or reassigned because they deployed a shelter?
                To be laid off with out pay you have to be found negligent and have a hearing sounds like a long investigation for this.
                I believe there is a mandatory 30 day reply period on and actions
                and rebuttals. There is absolutely no reason for a 400 day investigation??????????.

                • Marti Reed says

                  I’m willing to bet he wasn’t denied pay. I doubt they could get away with that.

                  Still, it IS kind of a weird story.

                  You said:

                  “There is absolutely no reason for a 400 day investigation??????????.”

                  Rocksteady said:

                  “If it was so cut and dry that he had not violated the 10 and 18, it would not have taken 400+ days. No?”

                  Interesting, for sure.

          • Marti Reed says

            You said:

            “I would like to see an epilogue of this interview, with Kenny being asked one question….

            “With hindsight being 20/20, how would you have done things differently?”

            This epilogue would provide teh learnables from an experienced WFF who got caught in a life thretening situation and should be able to identify to the whole community what went wrong, more then likely in a thought process or decision making event.”

            I think that, in a way, he DOES do this in the third video in the series, “Shelter Deployment Take-Away.”

            It’s a continuation of his reflecting on his shelter deployment. He talks about how fire-fighters need to get really fit, get really sober, and THEN, “break the cool barrier,” i.e. not being so caught up in trying “to impress your peers,” and, instead, “do what you’re supposed to do.”

            So, given that this was called “Take-Away,” from his deployment experience, he might be hinting that, maybe in his own mind, doing “what you’re supposed to do” wasn’t exactly what he was doing in relationship to his entrapment?

            From there, he goes directly into Yarnell. And says he thinks the “number one cause” was they were “trying to impress….trying to prove yourself……gut feeling, no proof.”

            So that appears to be his message from his deployment experience directly to his thoughts about Granite Mountain.

            Not exactly what EN seems to be trying to make it be.
            And by the way, if you haven’t caught all of my comments regarding this, we already went round and round about all of this three months ago.

            • Marti Reed says

              And she’s using Ken, as if she somehow has him as some kind of bright shiny token in her back pocket, to try to prove her not-what-he-is-saying point.

              She thinks it’s a game.
              She thinks it’s a broken record.

              It’s not.

              • Bob Powers says

                Ken on Elizabeth’s blog went on to say a lot about the 10 and 18 and why they should always be followed. He was not impressed with her blog either. Since he been on there it has gone dead.

        • Marti Reed says

          Been there, done that, three months ago.

          She thinks it’s a game.

          The Smokey Generation: Ken Jordan Interviewed April, 2014

          Second video is Shelter Deployment.

          Third video is Shelter Deployment Take-Away, in which he reflects on Granite Mountain and the Yarnell Hill Fire.

          http://thesmokeygeneration.com/?page_id=361

          • Elizabeth says

            Marti, when you claim that I am playing “a game” or “games,” what exactly do you mean, and why are you saying such a horrible thing about me (particularly after I have been so nice to you personally)? Meaning, I try hard not to criticize you, even when I am not a fan of something that you have posted here. Why is it that you do not give me the same courtesy?

            • Bob Powers says

              This is the Nice person game you are my friend I would never say bad things. Sorry to hear about this or that. Feed Me–Feed Me–Feed Me??????????????
              Gamming

            • Marti Reed says

              Becuz:

              “Been there, done that, three months ago.”

              So maybe I should say, instead:

              She thinks it’s a broken record.

              • Marti Reed says

                Becuz that’s, all things considered, better than saying:

                “Oh goodie! Let’s have another long drawn out argument in which we beat another already beaten to death, three months ago, idea just so this lawyer person can practice her courtroom skills. That’s relevant!”

          • rocksteady says

            No idea why, but that link just spools for me.

            When I go to the Smokey Generation, I can see all of Kens videos but can not get them to play….

            Maybe its my browser? I don’t know…

            May try it on my smartphone at home after work.

        • Marti Reed says

          “Elizabeth says
          MARCH 5, 2015 AT 1:27 PM

          Rocksteady, I’m not sharing my own personal view – I don’t have one, ”

          Not having a personal opinion is not possible for a human.

          Positioning oneself as not having a personal opinion is a common cover for people who are trying to make their opinions “invisible,” so they can try to make their opinions look like some kind of “objective truth.”

          .It used to be SOP in scientific and academic circles. until it became obvious that that wasn’t possible.

          Anyone with any significant experience in academia knows that.

          • Marti Reed says

            I am speaking as someone who has a personal opinion about all of this because I’ve been there, done that, and had to push MIGHTILY against it, in both science and academia.

    • SR says

      EN seems to be conflating several different issues.

      Predicting rare or extreme events: It’s not needed to be able to predict “uber-extreme” fire behavior with precision to keep a margin of safety.

      Risk management standards and organizational behavior: Whether the 10 and 18 might need reforming to produce a true safety culture is not directly related to whether fire behavior is or may be extreme or not, or predictable or not.

      Surprise/rare events: The conditions the day of the YHF did not develop in a manner markedly different from what weather forecast and conditions would have suggested. The fire was rare insofar as it had been decades since the last similar fire on those specific hills, but that’s like saying hurricanes are rare in Florida because it might have been decades since a direct hit on some specific stretch of coastline there. The fatalities were a huge statistical outlier, but not because the fire was that different from many other fires. IF it were the normal practice to take crews on prolonged bushwhacks through dense fuels whose canopy was at ground-level, while high winds are blowing a fire their direction, with the only possible escape being back uphill, there would be many similar burnovers.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to SR post on March 5, 2015 at 2:38 pm

        >> SR said…
        >>
        >> EN seems to be conflating several different issues.
        >>
        >> Predicting rare or extreme events: It’s not needed to be able
        >> to predict “uber-extreme” fire behavior with precision to
        >> keep a margin of safety.

        Of course not… and even if you LACK the ability to practice your own profession and be able to make good, safe risk-management decisions… you still need to just heed the advice of others who DO know what they are telling you.

        Even if the Granite Mountain Hotshots had been from Siberia… they were TOLD exactly what to EXPECT that day… and they were WARNED that very morning at the ICP to ‘watch out for’ EXACTLY what eventually happened to them.

        Local hiker / bow-hunter Rick McKenzie WARNED them that very morning while they were grabbing breakfast at the ICP what could easily happen to them if they weren’t ‘on their guard’ in that terrain… under the conditions present that day.

        From…

        http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/the-last-battle-of-the-granite-mountain-hotshots-20130911?page=6

        ———————————————
        Down at Incident Command, the rest of the crew was having breakfast before setting out. A Yarnell man named Rick McKenzie approached with some advice. Rick’s family had been in Yavapai County for 150 years, since his great-grandfather moved from Nova Scotia to prospect for gold on Yarnell Hill. He bow-hunted in these mountains, and he knew the terrain well. He went up to one of the Hotshots, a squad boss named Travis Carter.

        “Y’all be careful up on that mountain,” Rick told him. “That brush is so thick that you can’t even crawl through it. And that manzanita burns hot. If the fire comes down off the mountain, man, watch out. It’ll blow up.”

        “Thanks,” Travis said, nodding. “We appreciate that.”
        ———————————————

        DIRECT WARNING given to Granite Mountain THAT very morning…

        “That manzanita burns hot. If the fire comes down off the mountain, man, watch out. It’ll blow up.”

  12. Elizabeth says

    Allow me to try again to explain at least part of what has been motivating some of my recent comments or questions:

    According to every single fire scientist and/or senior WFF who has worked in the SW on big-ish transition fires comparable to the YHF (particularly during the monsoon season or just before) with whom I have spoken, there is no way that is 100% reliable to predict with 100% certainty (or even 99% certainty):
    1. Which bad fires are going to “erupt” VERSUS which bad fires are NOT going to erupt and are instead going to just remain as just plain vanilla “extreme” or bad fires without any “eruption” or “blow-up,”
    2. WHEN exactly (within a ten or 15 or 20 minute window) a fire is going to blow up, if it is going to blow up at all,
    3. exactly WHICH direction the fire is going to travel when and if it DOES blow up and how FAST it is going to travel in that direction… whatever direction it is.

    Presumably this uncertainty and unpredictability is why various posters on this BB are saying that GM should have sat down in the black and waited things out.

    But, as we can see from the videos and the GPS, among other things, between roughly 3:50 p.m. and 4:38 p.m., folks on the YHF were NOT sitting down and waiting things out (but rather they were ultimately moving in order to restage and reconsider their options), so is that a cultural thing or is that just the nature of the beast when working on transition fires in the SW in storm season in the late spring/summer?

    • rocksteady says

      You are correct Liz, there ios no 100% way to predict, too many variables…

      Critical thresholds could be one or many of the following:

      Wind speed
      Temperature
      relative humidity
      fuel moisture
      fuel type and configuration
      drought effect
      overnight recovery of rh or lack thereof
      terrain and topography

      Because of so many factors, the crews SHOULD be practicing avoidance of entrapment and situational awareness, doing significant intel gathering, prior to making decisions during aggressive fire conditions….As we can see, by NOT doing all of the things I listed in this paragraph, the impacts can be significant. Risk management is REAL, not just a theory..

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to rocksteady post on March 5, 2015 at 9:26 am

        >> rocksteady said…
        >>
        >> The crews SHOULD be practicing avoidance of entrapment and
        >> situational awareness, doing significant intel gathering, prior to
        >> making decisions during aggressive fire conditions….

        Yes…. but it is not just a SHOULD… it’s a MUST.

        It’s called following the established RULES of your profession… especially since the lives and the safety of others entrusted to your care is ALWAYS involved.

        To do anything less is called NEGLIGENCE.

        >> rocksteady also said…
        >>
        >> As we can see, by NOT doing all of the things I listed in this
        >> paragraph, the impacts can be significant.

        Since 2012, Dr. Tom Zimmerman has been the President of the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF).

        He was a PAID consultant for Arizona Forestry’s SAIT investigation.

        He is an ONGOING consultant with Arizona Forestry regarding the Yarnell Incident and the inevitable litigation(s).

        He may even be considered by Arizona Forestry to be one their ‘expert witnesses’ regarding the Yarnell incident if push comes to shove.

        He, himself, has stated in a PUBLIC “National Public Radio” interview that it is a KNOWN FACT that Granite Mountain was NOT “actively engaged” on their (fully functional) radios and cellphones that day gathering the correct amount of INFORMATION / INTEL they needed to make ‘safe’ risk-management decisions that day.

        Montana Public Radio
        Recording Title: Sally Mauk talks with fire expert Tom Zimmerman
        about the new challenges facing wildland firefighting
        Published online on February 20, 2014
        The radio interview is 11 minutes long

        http://mtpr.org/post/facing-our-new-fire-realities-major-challenge-american-west

        Dr. Tom Zimmermann said ( ON THE AIR and PUBLICLY )…
        ——————————————————————————-
        When we say… they were OUT of communication… that’s NOT TRUE.
        They were on top of a mountain
        They had coverage.
        They HAD radio coverage.
        They WERE in communication.
        They WERE NOT actively ENGAGED on the radio.
        They HAD communications right up to the point that they entered
        their passage down to the deployment site.
        ——————————————————————————-

        >> rocksteady also said…
        >>
        >> Risk management is REAL, not just a theory..

        …and ( as stated above ) a REQUIREMENT. It is NOT OPTIONAL.

        Do it in a poor and/or negligent fashion… and NOT in accordance with the established rules of your profession… and people entrusted to your care could DIE.

        And that isn’t just for Wildland Firefighting, either.

        There are HUNDREDS ( THOUSANDS ) of professions whereby… if you are negligent in your risk management practices… people entrusted your care could ( and often DO ) DIE.

    • Bob Powers says

      Elizabeth—Who ever you are speaking to is either full of BS or you are not paying attention to what they are saying as you don’t pay attention here.

      #1. Depends on severial things that interact on a fire in those conditions continual monitoring
      by FBAN and weather predictions can provide the data necessary to safely fight the fire.
      You are never granted 100% accuracy. In those cases it is better to go direct and stay away from any indirect attack. Blow ups happen biased on severial things that interact with the fire.
      If you are looking for 100% you will never get it in mother nature. Plan accordingly.

      #2 There are indicators but if you are asking for pin point accuracy that’s a high threshold.
      See # 1

      # 3 is a little easer to predict depending on the location of the fire, topography, wind weather and location of fire on slope fuel bead and active flame front. All well with in a Fire Fighters knowledge and a FBAN.

      All these questions are in fact critical during extreme fire activity drought and late season fires. It is very much part of a educated Fireman’s knowledge.
      and here I go again———in these conditions the tools you have for safety the 10 and 18 will keep you out of any bad situation always protect your self and crews from the POSSIBILITY of a change in the Fire activity. LCES, and safety ZONES stay close to the Black and Go direct.

      If critical fire activity happens then you are always in a position to counter it with a solid safety plan………….Continued contact with your supervisors, Weather and close observation of the main fire activity. Ask questions get answers keep informed that is you job.

      • rocksteady says

        Fire Behaviour Prediction is a combination of Art AND Science..

        Science is easy, algorithms, data input, outputs yada yada

        Art is the hardest. Tweeking the science outputs to reflect what is really happening. Based on observations, local knowledge, experience…

        Scroll down to my ramblings on what I do as an FBAN to try to understand…

        • Elizabeth says

          Rocksteady, does fire behavior ever outperform or underperform what you predicted? Presumably “yes,” right?

          • Bob Powers says

            You asked that question once before what are you digging for.
            WHAT PART OF– IT IS NOT AN EXACT SICENCE– DO YOU NOT UNDESTAND?????
            WE ARE NOT TALKING HUGE VARIABLES HERE.
            Like Rates of Spread doubling or tripling.
            Under preforming is always good because you are prepared for the worst.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              She is CONSTANTLY ‘phishing’ for any ‘wiggle-room’ to just try and NORMALIZE some/all of the decision making that took place on June 30, 2013.

              That’s because she knows what NEGLIGENCE means.

          • rocksteady says

            It is Fire Behaviour Prediction,not fire behaviour perfection……

            Too many variables to achieve perfection every day on every fire.

            I would rather it OVER predicts rather than under, as teh crews will stay safe if they follow the guidance

            • Marti Reed says

              Exact same thing if you’re warning 600 hot air balloon pilots, even if upper management doesn’t particularly appreciate that forecast.

        • Marti Reed says

          Regarding FBANs. Thank you for your description of how you work that job.

          As I was watching some related videos yesterday, I heard FBANs repeatedly say how much they depend not only on meteorological services, but also on FEEDBACK from actual folks fighting the actual fire, in order to build up a relatively accurate picture inside their heads as to what’s going on.

          Which makes sense, of course.

          Those comments raised a red flag in my brain regarding Yarnell.

          I’m not seeing, anywhere, FBAN Bryan Kimball being notified in that kind of relatively specific way by ANYONE on the fire.

          Bravo 3, especially, didn’t communicate to him their 12:30 PM perception and warning that the fire would reverse direction THAT AFTERNOON. He may as well have never even been there. It seems to me that SHOULD have exactly been the kind of communication that was needed in order for the IMT/IC/OPS to RETHINK their strategy.

          In their convos with each other about the winds etc Eric was seeing from his relatively awesome position, neither he nor Todd Abel conversed with FBAN Byron, who was, at the time, driving around taking pictures on the other side of the fire.

          Gary Cordes never communicated with him while watching his trigger points being hit faster than he could react to them, in so far as to what that might mean regarding crews that were out there and such, much less his “Plan” to put a line in between Glen Isla and Boulder Springs Ranch. Or any other critical thing, for that matter.

          Again, Byron Kimball might as well not have even been there that day, as far as people fighting the fire actually giving him any “feedback” or consulting with him.

          It seems that, to my mind, there should have been MUCH more communication going on with him. Otherwise, what’s the point????????

          What do you think, Rocksteady?

          • Bob Powers says

            You are right also the big problem we are finding on Yarnell was the team.
            a short team slapped to gather with missing parts that do not train to gather or work as a unit is a bad situation which on call teams were suppose to fix.
            Even short teams should be called from a on call type 2 team.
            that way the short team can fill needed members as the situation dictates.
            Having division bosses that are not use to a team concept just adds to the confusion. The FBAN should be in contact with the divisions. providing updated input. More evidence of a poorly managed fire.

            • Marti Reed says

              Which is why I repeatedly say that, in looking for the factors that set the stage for the demise of the Granite Mountain 19, I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope the responsible investigators will look as far UP as they look DOWN.

              I have pretty much accepted the most likely probability that some combination of Eric Marsh’s and Jesse Steed’s FAULTY decision-making will prove to have been the proximate cause of the deaths of the GM 19.

              And I, honestly, all things considered, find that really really PAINFUL. Like I’ve said, I’ve wept more tears over this than I have over my own mother’s death. It’s just so AWFUL.

              But, that being the case.

              The MANAGEMENT of this whole fire, from the absolute get-go was (and needs to be RECOGNIZED as) equally NEGLIGENT.

              Which is why, at this point, I am, to be honest, mystified as to why Elizabeth isn’t, in her search for reasons to absolve Eric Marsh, looking in the direction of this whole realm.

              I really do believe that if this fire hadn’t been so negligently mismanaged from the top down, the Granite Mountain Hotshots would still be alive today.

              Complete with all the “bad habits with good outcomes” that some of those who know them have whispered to others, and that show up, periodically, as do those of a whole lot of other Wildland Firefighters.

              • Elizabeth says

                Marti, you mention me in your above post. I am happy to give you my explanation in response, if you actually want it. In return, however, you will have to agree to stop with your snark toward me (unless, of course, I snark at you first in the future – to that end, again, I am pretty sure I have never even once snarked at you, unless I did it and did not realize it and you never called me out on it such that I remain ignorant of it).

          • rocksteady says

            Like I said, that is a day in the life of ME!! Not all FBANs follow the same tactic, and I am not saying that how I roll is the silver bullet and all FBANs should do as I do..

            • Marti Reed says

              Thanks for that. From my experience working with my dad, he was the same way.

              As the Weather Wizard for the Balloon Fiesta, his FIRST concern was the safety of the pilots and crews. So we would grab the NWS forecasts, look at the maps, run weather balloons, calculate the winds aloft, deliver the briefings, and then he would either fly or stay on the field and pay close attention to what was happening, and then talk with the pilots afterwards. It was all about the information loop.

              Pilots loved him to fly with them because, as they would say, “he could just see the winds.” And he flew enough to always be learning about the flying and the weather.

              And speaking of flying, after WWII, when he was the Air Force Meteorologist at Clark Field, in the Phillipines, he actually flew typhoons in order to figure out how to “do the math” to create the Rules for flying SAFELY into and out of hurricanes, and those Rules are still in force to this day.

              He always was in “conversation” with whoever he was doing weather with/for in order to continue learning about how weather and whatever are interacting with each other.

            • Marti Reed says

              Le sigh…………..

              I’ve been gonna make a website for a year now. But…….Yarnell……bad fall………..burnout………mom……………… Maybe this year????

              I have a Flickr site that I haven’t posted on since way back forever, but you can see the kind of stuff I generally still do. It’s here:

              https://www.flickr.com/photos/home-gypsy/

              If it gives you any grief, just click continue.

              • Marti Reed says

                I’ve also, on again off again, posted quite a bit of my photography on Facebook. Just look at my albums.

                I’m here:

                https://www.facebook.com/marti.reed.14?ref=profile

                As a matter of fact, since I had recently posted something about Kristen Honig’s Photo of the Thompson Ridge fire, I was intending to post some of my photos I took two weeks ago with my awesome new camera of the burn scars at Valles Caldera.

                So, maybe I’ll do that!!!

    • SR says

      If it were possible to predict exactly when something happens, then the margin of safety could be cut pretty slim indeed. Of course, GM still would have had to have utilized maps and done a better job routefinding to be able to utilize a slim margin.

      All the variables were in place on the YHF to suggest that this could be a very bad fire. Even in the morning. By the afternoon, even more so, and as has been repeatedly pointed out to EN. GM’s own observations, the weather forecast, observed weather, all bore this out. As a backdrop, let’s remember that the fuel was dry dense chaparral that, when it burns, nearly always burns hot. And that the same chaparral Is almost by definition a bear to bushwhack through.

      Dry air. High temps. Dry dense fuel. High winds. Observed fire behavior.

      We all actually perform similar risk management all the time when we drive. Not even NASA can predict precisely when another vehicle might swerve or brake unexpectedly or have it’s driver suffer and epileptic seizure. If we COULD know these things, we could otherwise follow incredibly closely even at highway speeds. As it is, we are expected to maintain a safe distance from cars in front, etc. etc. People who do not do these things and instead tailgate, zip in and out of lanes without signaling, travel 30 mph+ faster than other traffic, etc. get cited for reckless driving, not because those drivers WANT something bad to happen, but because they don’t maintain sufficient margins of safety.

        • Bob Powers says

          SR— as you said slim margins are not an option in wild land fire.
          Your plan and options must be safety ordinated to almost 100% or do not do it.
          That’s when you get into discussions with analysts over the 10 standard orders can you follow them and fight fire? The answer in my book is yes experience has taught me that it is possible. And works______________ .

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to SR post on March 5, 2015 at 10:42 am

        >> SR said…
        >>
        >> People who do not do these things and instead tailgate, zip in and
        >> out of lanes without signaling, travel 30 mph+ faster than other
        >> traffic, etc. get cited for reckless driving, not because those drivers
        >> WANT something bad to happen, but because they don’t maintain
        >> sufficient margins of safety.

        That’s a perfect ( and inescapable ) analogy for the ‘risk management’ RULE and procedures of hundreds ( if not thousands ) of professions…

        …and in the cited example… if you do NOT follow these “Rules of the Road”… and you end up KILLING someone… you have been GROSSLY NEGLIGENT in your responsibilities and you WILL be charged with ‘manslaughter’.

        The analogy just becomes geometric if you start mentioning people whose aherence to the “Rules of the Road” always invloves the safety of other entrusted to their care while “On the Road”… like bus drivers, etc.

        It’s not even about YOU at that point.

        It is even MORE important then to follow EVERY established “Rule of the Road” and make SURE you have mitigated every chance of death or injury to the people who have been ENTRUSTED to YOUR CARE.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Elizabeth (counselor) post on March 5, 2015 at 8:45 am

      >> counselor said…
      >>
      >> Allow me to try again to explain at least part of what has been motivating
      >> some of my recent comments or questions:

      For God’s sake.

      ASKED and ANSWERED, counselor. Ad infinitum.

      I’m not even going to reprint anything else from above… because it’s the SAME THING you have said OVER and OVER and OVER.

      You are NOT looking for ANSWERS here. You are just someone who is looking for AFFIRMATION of your ‘theories’ and your ‘agenda’.

      That’s why you keep pretending that the only reason you are NOT getting the AFFIRMATION you seek is because maybe you didn’t explain yourself right.

      EVERYONE GETS IT.

      We got it the FIRST time.

      Part of your agenda is to do everything you can to NORMALIZE the decisions that were made in Yarnell on June 30, 2013… because you also KNOW what the legal definition of NEGLIGENCE is.

      How MANY times are you going to keep repeating the SAME actions and expect DIFFERENT results?

      One definition for mental illness…
      “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
      Albert Einstein

      Many, many obviously knowledgeable, experienced, and respected authorities have tried and tried to tell you that there was very little that was NORMAL about a lot of the decisions that were made in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

      Why don’t you just realize that they are NEVER going to ‘agree’ with you that ‘everything was NORMAL that day’… and take your arguments to a court room ( or a book ) or something… where you *might* be able to get someone to believe your bullshit?

  13. Marti Reed says

    Referring to the comments of some of the overhead and crew during the FLA of a ‘Hazard Tree” incident on the Freezeout Ridge Fire in September of 2014

    rocksteady said on MARCH 4, 2015 AT 10:40 AM

    “in my opinion a fairly lax attitude towards a known hazard.

    Is this how Hotshots think about hazards, depending on previous risk mental files? Or do the do a thorough risk assessment every time they come onto a new fire/division/line/stagjng area.

    Would it not be better to ensure safety by doing a indepth assessment of the work area, rather than “blowing it off” like their comments seem to indicate…”

    Given that I think this incident relates to our overall topic of conversation, this comment sparked some memories inside my head regarding having read, somewhere, someone writing about how 2014 was a REALLY bad year for “hazard tree” incidents and, therefore,

    “Houston, we have a PROBLEM!”

    (The following series of pieces of my narrative I will follow by all the links in subsequent replies so as to not screw the entire thing up).

    I couldn’t find that article, but I did find something I had noted earlier on Facebook — a graphic on the Lessons Learned Facebook page, that showed that half of 2014’s “16 different” “Hit by Tree Incidents” were “No saw involved.”

    So, searching to try to find some more data about that number, I found the National Wildlife Coordinating Center’s Risk Management Committee’s Safety Gram 2014 — Fatalities, Entrapments and Serious Accident Summary for 2014.

    It showed 10 “Tree Strike” injuries, including 2 experienced by “contractors.” It didn’t show any fatalities. It noted that as a “non-fatal trend.”

    Then I found the “Fiscal Year 2014 Wildland Fire Management Report.” issued January 12, 2015, by the Department of the Interior and USDA Forest Service, which show its numbers (it says these are subject to possible revision).

    The “Fatal and Non-fatal Serious Accidents” part begins on Page 12 (19 in my digital reader.) The following are some items from it:

    “In FY 2014, nine wildland firefighter fatalities in the line of duty were reported across the United States. The 10-year average stands at 17 fatal accidents a year. Of the nine fatal accidents during FY 2014, one Federal (Forest Service) wildland firefighter was involved. ”

    Noted Non-fatal Accident Trends:

    • Nine hazard tree related accidents were reported, all of which resulted in hospitalization of the nine firefighters involved (7 Federal; 2 state/other)

    • In FY 2014, the number of non-fatal serious accidents (all agencies) increased nearly five-fold

    • Federal non-fatal serious accidents nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014

    Footnote 12: Fatalities and non-fatal serious accidents for 2014 are reported according to fiscal year—October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014, rather than calendar year (January 1 to December 31) as has been reported in past reports

    The Pie Chart on Page 14 (21 in Reader) shows 1 Fatality via Hazard Tree.

    The next graph on that page shows Non-Fatal Accident Comparison, All Agencies (2013-2014). In 2013 there was one Hazard Tree accident, in 2014 there were nine.

    Also, that same graph shows that in 2013 there was 1 non-fatal Burnover, and in 2014 there were 25. The whole chart shows that, except for Aviation, last year was a pretty hairy year for Non-Fatal Accidents.

    Note: I’m still trying to make total sense of these categories. But this is a good starting point, at least for now. There are more charts in this document, but this is all I’m writing for now.

    So the next thing I discovered was the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s/Committe’s Hazard Tree Safety website, which I am guessing started up after, as I recall, 2007 was considered a disturbing year for Hazard Tree incidents, which didn’t even come close to last year’s numbers.

    Apparently, not everybody has been all A-OK with the kind of thinking that led to the various statements made during the Freezeout Ridge Fire FLA. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they’ve posted much of anything since their big interest in the topic in 2008. Apparently, what ever push they made then worked, at least until last year, according to the numbers.

    One thing I found in particular was their “Job Hazard Analysis” document down towards the bottom of the “Forest Service” collection under “Qualification Requirements by Agency.” Most of the documents above this one have to do with chainsaws, felling, etc. But THIS one has to do with everything regarding the possible dangers associated with Hazard Trees on any kind of site.

    This came the closest to what rocksteady was saying about “doing a indepth assessment of the work area” of anything I’ve found so far, and it does, indeed, require a fairly in-depth assessment of the site — the kind of assessment that doesn’t even remotely equate to how the folks quoted in the FLA seemed to have been assessing that site.

    In particular, regarding to this Job Hazard Analysis (JHA):

    “The intent of this JHA is to serve as a template for field units to prepare local hazard tree JHAs that would be included with activity based JHAs for chain saw/cross cut saw operations, fire suppression, prescribed fire operations and other wildland fire related work activities. JHAs are most effective when they are project specific and are prepared at the local level by personnel who will be implementing the project. As a result, this example JHA should be modified as necessary to meet the specific work conditions and requirements of the local unit.

    This JHA only identifies the hazards and safe actions associated with working in the vicinity of potential hazard trees and specific hazard trees that have been identified. It does not analyze the other hazards associated with the work activity.”

    And, more specifically, under the Activity/Sequence of Job Steps, Locating Fireline, it says:

    “1. Utilize the most qualified personnel on scene to scout and flag fireline.

    2. Locate fireline in areas with the least amount of potential hazard trees, as long as other fireline safety risks are not increased to an unacceptable level.

    3. Perform an initial size-up of potential hazard trees from a safe distance as determined by an assessment of on site conditions such as steepness of slope, number and density of trees in vicinity and potential for “domino effect”, stability of trees, wind conditions and other applicable variables. [Follow agency policy if the agency has established more stringent requirements. Forest Service employees should refer to the Health & Safety Code Handbook.] Approach trees as warranted to conduct additional assessment.

    4. Insure LCES is in place when conducting the assessment in close proximity to potential hazard trees. Assess potential hazard trees to determine if a live tree or snag should be identified as a hazardous tree. Refer to assessment techniques in the attachment at end of this JHA.

    5. Flag or otherwise mark all identified hazard trees.”

    It’s looking like, after 2014, the wildfire fighting community is going to have to find and dust off this memorandum in order to do something about their historically lousy year, in the realm of being as lax as they appeared to have been before their dangerously casual approach to that site on which one of their fire-fighters would have been probably killed by one of the relatively many “Hazard Trees” that hit someone last year, if it hadn’t been for the awesome emergency response they put together — which the FLA then most conveniently focused on.

    Oh, and I just remembered, I read a couple of gritty related posts on the Lessons Learned Facebook page by the Crew Superintendent who turned down that assignment. So there’s that, also.

    So I will proceed to post the links:

    • Marti Reed says

      National Wildfire Coordinating Committee Hazard Tree Safety website:

      http://www.nwcg.gov/branches/pre/rmc/htsc/index.html

      “The intent of the Hazard Tree Subcommittee (HTSC) is to provide and promote the application of an effective risk management process when working in hazard tree environments and conducting chain saw operations.  The HTSC will provide products to assist in the identification and mitigation of risk factors and decision-making ability in the hazard tree environment.”

    • Marti Reed says

      From Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Facebook page:

      “I’ve been in worse, and sent people into worse. I will in the future. This is where we work. This area is normal.”

      Read the report: http://bit.ly/FreezeoutRidgeFLA

      In our business, getting hit by a tree is _________.”

      Which includes the comment:

      Jody Prummer: I was the one who turned the assignment down prior to the type 2 IMT arrival. I couldn’t see a way to mitigate the snag hazard. Instead of talking trash to each other we should ask ourselves how we perceive risk differently. How does one see the assignment risk one way and another sees it just the opposite.

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152665241351835

    • Marti Reed says

      Oh, and I forgot to add in my narrative that one of the recommendations of the FLA was a call for a meta-study of falling accidents.

      Welcome to 2015. We shall see!

    • Marti Reed says

      And another PS. The Lessons Learned Center issues an annual “Incident Review Report.” It’s a very helpful report.

      I spent too much time today trying to find the one for 2014, in order to see how/if it linked (I would assume) to their graphic and their Facebook post. I couldn’t find it. So I still don’t know where their 16 number comes from.

      Their previous Reports have been published in February. I guess they haven’t published the 2014 one just yet. So I’m still not sure where their numbers in their Facebook post are coming from, exactly.

      • Marti Reed says

        I’m guessing, since they say that half the 16 “Hit by Tree Incidents” were “No saw involved,” that gives eight, which roughly corresponds to the nine non-fatality “Hazard Tree” incidents reported by the USFS/BLM. which kinda sorta corresponds to the 8 + 2 “contractor” “Hazard Tree” incidents reported by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

        So it’s possible the other eight “Hit by Tree” incidents Lessons Learned says were not “No saw involved” incidents, that might have put them in another category by USFS/BLM and the NWCG.

        I haven’t had time, at this point, to go looking for the fatality by “Hit by Tree” being documented by USFS/BLM.

        Another day, another dollar.

    • Marti Reed says

      So, all in all, the exact numbers are a bit muddy at this point, but the TREND is SERIOUS.

      And, I confess, I did jumble up a little bit my DOI/BLM terms. The Forest Service/Department of the Interior document is not confined to BLM. But when I read DOI I tend to instinctively equate that with BLM, But that’s not accurate. DOI includes other wildfire-related agencies, including BIA/Bureau of Indian Affairs and USFW/US Fish and Wildlife.

      So, if we really want to know exactly what is going on with this whole “Hit by Tree” thing, which seems to be seriously increasing, we may have to parse some of these things a bit more.

      But I’m getting braindead.

      Nevertheless, the POINT of all of this whole thing, imho, leads back to what rocksteady was seeing when he recommended that we look at the ‘Hazard Tree” incident on the Freezeout Ridge Fire Incident in September of 2014.

      In particular, how the participants so casually described the field on which that near-fatality incident occurred.

      Is the casual way in which, relative to Canadians (who carry no fire shelters and, thus, must systemically/culturally take their own safety more SERIOUSLY, and thus, may also analyze “hazardous tree” work also more SERIOUSLY), the participants described that scenario that led to that 2014 near-fatality “Hazard Tree” incident (and maybe a bunch of others in 2014) possibly related to the relative difference between how Canadians fight fire and how the US fire-fighers fight fire in, possibly, PROFOUNDLY different ways??

      • Marti Reed says

        Even though I need to go to bed, I’m sitting here experiencing a pretty strong cognitive dissonance right now, after looking at last year’s stats.

        Many more non-fatal fire-shelter deployments than “normal.” and hugely more seriously dangerous “Hazardous Tree” hits than “normal,” Both with some aviation-related “miracles” that saved a bunch of those people.

        I’m just not sure what to think of all of this, to be perfectly honest.

      • rocksteady says

        Here in BC we have had a formal Danger Tree Assessment program (I am an instructor).

        It began because we had a “danger tree incident”, a initial attack crew member was struck by a green unburned tree at a pump site and was left paralyzed from the waist down. We were put on notice from workers comp. The following year, we had a fire warden walking a fireguard, who got struck (no significant injuries) and then workers comp got pissy. They MANDATED that we come up with an assessment program to keep our employees safe on the fireline.

        The initial program evolved but was way too cautious (way too much felling of trees to “err on the side of caution”. We found we were putting our fallers at risk, rather than just crew members, we also found we were doing too much fuel loading, before suppression could begin, so we actually had fires increase in intensity and escape before we could even try to put tehm out.

        It evolved from there.

        The process is fairly simple. A certified DTA MUST assess the worksite prior to any work beginning. This includes an overall site assessment overview, looking at teh whole stand to look for indicators that could lead to danger trees (pine beetle, windthrow, shallow soils, etc).

        Once that is done the DTA does a specific tree inspection of each “ssuspect tree” to determine if it is safe or dangerous..

        The decision is based on a handbook that takes into account disturbance level (hand tools and hose vs heli bucketing vs heavy equipment), it takes into account species (they decay at different rates), as well as what the burning conditions are (not so much temp/rh but long term burning…

        Danger trees are felled prior to any ground crews entering.

        All information is gathered on field cards and is given to plans (on a major incident) and it is one of the first thing workers comp looks for when they show up on site.

        Most hotshot type crews will have 10 DTA personnel and all fallers must have it before tehy can become certified fallers. It is a bit of extra work prior to beginiing suppression, however productivity is not the concern, safety is.

        Not sayuing it is the silver bullet, as we still do have some danger tree incidents every year, but at least we are now showing due diligence for workers comp.

        When we travel out of our jurisdiction, we take the process/policy with us. When we import others, who do not have such a program, we use our crews (call them DTA/falling teams for lack of a better term) to secure the area before work begins.

        I do know when I worked with a USFS Type 1 team from Cali back in 2009 (?) they were very interested in the program. I believe they may have actually taken one of the handbooks home with them 😉

        • Marti Reed says

          Very interesting, thank you!!!

          Interesting that it is Workers Comp that is kind of the Anchor Point for that.

          I think it’s going to be quite interesting to observe what happens in response to what happened last year. What you wrote helps create kind of a framework in my head for watching that process a little bit more critically.

          • rocksteady says

            MArti, last year, using our DTA process we noted, as the season progressed, how many more danger trees were encountered due to the extended drought and burning conditions. Most susceptible, surpisingly, were green Spruce. The deep burning conditions were showing little indication on the stem of the tree of any failure potential, but the root systems were completely burned off. Stumps looked like the picture in the Freezeout FLA. STUBS, not full length roots.

            As this anomoly was discovered it received wide distribution to all areas of the province as a heads up. It was discussed on briefing (teleconference) to all Fire Bases.

  14. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** SO WHO IS DR. TOM ZIMMERMAN… AND WHAT HAS BEEN
    ** HIS ONGOING INVOLVEMENT WITH ARIZONA FORESTRY?
    **
    ** ADOSH WANTS TO KNOW.

    In that document that appeared in the “Arizona Forestry vs. ADOSH” ALJ Hearing file about a week ago… we see Arizona Forestry and ADOSH in the midst of the ‘Discovery’ process whereby they are BOTH entitled to see what ‘evidence’ the other side possesses as they move towards the eventual HEARING in front of ALJ Judge Michael Mosesso.

    Arizona Forestry was ‘objecting’ to pretty much ALL of Arizona Forestry’s “Requests for Production of Documents/Evidence”… but one section in particular focused on a mysterious Arizona Forestry ‘consultant’ by the name of Dr. Tom Zimmerman.

    ADOSH obviously wants to know THEMSELVES the nature of the relationship, the level of his involvement ( and the FEES being paid ) as a possible ‘consultant’ to AZF… and here is their exact “Request for Production”7 issued to AZF for that information…

    NOTE: It is not clear in the “Request for Production” document itself how ADOSH became AWARE of this Dr. Tom Zimmerman guy and his possible ‘(paid?) relationship’ with Arizona Forestry… but obviously they DO (already) know about him.

    —————————————————————————
    ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 9
    Produce all documents received from or sent to Dr. Tom Zimmerman by the Arizona State Forestry Division and all communications between the Arizona State Forestry Division and Dr. Tom Zimmerman including but not limited to those regarding his fee arrangement with Arizona State Forestry Division, hours billed, and compensation paid.
    —————————————————————————

    Arizona Forestry’s ( ASFD’s ) official ‘response’ to ADOSH on this “Request for Production” was simply the following…

    ————————————————————————–
    ASFD has sent Mr. Zimmerman the SAIT report, the ADOSH Citations, Inspection Worksheets, Inspection Narrative, and the Wildland Fire Associates Report, all of which have been produced.
    —————————————————————————

    So Arizona Forestry was/is pretty much REFUSING to detail WHAT their relationship with Dr. Tom Zimmerman is/was… but they are ‘acknowledging’ that they HAVE sent him their own report as well as all the ADOSH / WFA related citations, reports and documents.

    It’s pretty easy to assume, then, that Arizona Forestry is/was asking Zimmerman to take a look at ALL of this material and (perhaps) provide them with some (ongoing?) ‘advice’ on how to fight the ADOSH citations.

    NOTE: Dr. Tom Zimmerman was never (apparently) involved in the original SAIT investigation. He is not listed anywhere as having been a ‘member’ of that ‘Team’ in any way.

    So WHO is Dr. Tom Zimmerman, really?

    Since 2012, he has been the President of the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF).

    From the International Association of Wildland Fire website’s “Board of Directors” page…

    http://www.iawfonline.org/board.php
    ——————————————————————————–
    Tom Zimmerman, President (board member since 2012)
    Retired Program Manager
    Wildland Fire Management Research, Development, and Application Program, Rocky Mountain Research Station, U.S. Forest Service

    Tom has worked at multiple federal land management agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and US Forest Service.

    His permanent assignments include positions as Forester, Fire Control Officer, Fire Management Officer, State Fire Management Planning Specialist, Regional Fire Management Officer, Fire Technology Specialist, Fire Science and Ecological Applications Program Leader, Regional Director of Fire and Aviation Management, and Wildland Fire Management RD&A Program Manager. Tom has conducted training in the United States, China, Canada, and India, and presented papers, either in person or virtually, at conferences in the United States, Canada, Italy, South Africa, and Cyprus Wildland fire and emergency response constituted a major focus area and Tom has over 30 years of involvement in incident management team operations including service as an Incident Commander and Area Commander on wildland fire incidents and all hazard emergency responses across the country.
    —————————————————————————–

    NOTE: This position… “Regional Director of Fire and Aviation Management”, puts him into the same circle of management as Mike Dudley, the Co-Lead of the original SAIT investigation team… but Dr. Tom Zimmerman was NOT officially listed as being involved with the SAIT investigation. Not even as a ‘consultant’. The relationship that ADOSH wants to know about is (apparently) something that was developed between AZF and Zimmerman AFTER the ADOSH citations came out and AZF decided to contest them.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup…

      ** DR. TOM ZIMMERMAN SAYS GRANITE MOUNTAIN
      ** WAS FAILING TO COMMUNICATE PROPERLY

      Regardless of his current/past ‘relationship’ with Arizona Forestry… and WHY Arizona Forestry admits to specifically sending him BOTH their own reports AND all of the ADOSH /WFA reports/citations… it’s obvious that Dr. Tom Zimmerman is not under any kind of ‘gag’ order to not talk about the Yarnell Incident.

      He has done so in PUBLIC… in a ‘National Public Radio’ ON-AIR interview.

      And while he is obviously a ‘company man’ ( and talks like one )… and he does sort of ‘echo’ the assumption the SAIR report was pushing that they had enough information to be making decisions… it also can’t be said that he is exactly ‘towing the line’ of the findings of the original SAIT investigation.

      Quite the opposite, really.

      Zimmerman has refuted ( in PUBLIC ) some of the findings of SAIT.

      In February of 2014, International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) President Dr. Tom Zimmerman sat down for a radio interview with the official Montana National Public Radio Network (MTPR).

      The SUBJECT of that radio interview with MTPR’s news director Sally Mauk was…

      “Facing our new fire realities a major challenge in the American West”

      The MPTR article about this interview… with a complete playable RECORDING of the entire interview… is here…

      Montana Public Radio
      Recording Title: Sally Mauk talks with fire expert Tom Zimmerman
      about the new challenges facing wildland firefighting
      Published online on February 20, 2014
      The radio interview is 11 minutes long

      http://mtpr.org/post/facing-our-new-fire-realities-major-challenge-american-west

      From the article on this page…
      ———————————————-
      In over three decades of fighting fire, studying fire and crafting fire management policy, Tom Zimmerman has seen a lot of changes in fire behavior and control. Zimmerman has worked with fire for the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S Forest Service – and most recently, at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

      He is currently president of the International Association of Wildland Fire. He’s in Missoula ( Montana ) to lecture about wildland fire management, and took time to sit down in our studios with News Director Sally Mauk, to talk about what we’ve learned about fire over the last 30 years.
      ————————————————

      The interviewer, MPTR News Director Sally Maulk, is a former Wilderness Ranger and is no stranger to reporting about forest fires…

      ——————————————————
      Sally Mauk
      MPTR News Director Emeritus

      Retired in 2014 but still a presence at MTPR, Sally Mauk is a University of Kansas graduate and former Wilderness Ranger who has reported on everything from the legislature to forest fires. She also taught broadcast writing and reporting in the University of Montana journalism school.
      ——————————————————–

      Amazingly enough… even with her Wilderness Ranger background and experience reporting about forest fires… interviewer Sally Mauk was absolutely convinced that the ONLY reason the Granite Mountain Hotshots died was because they radios were malfunctioning and they were UNABLE to communicate ( with ANYONE ).

      Pretty much the same bullshit that was WIDELY reported by the Mainstream Media after the Arizona Forestry’s SAIR report came out.

      Dr. Tom Zimmerman CORRECTED her… ON THE AIR.

      He told her FLAT-OUT ( ON THE AIR ) that while there had been some frequency and tone guard issues earlier in the day… Granite Mountain was having NO SIGNIFICANT RADIO PROBLEMS that day and that they WERE ‘in communication’ with others right up until the point where they began their (his quote) “passage down to the deployment site”.

      He assured her that the real PROBLEM that afternoon was that Granite Mountain was simply NOT ‘actively engaged’ on the radio.

      They were CHOOSING to NOT communicate ‘clearly and effectively’ that day.

      IAWF President Dr. Zimmerman also goes on to admit ( ON THE AIR ) that the cause of this terrible incident mostly involves the HUMAN FACTORS issue(s)… and one of the “Lessons Learned” going forward HAS to be “better training” in those areas.

      Here is a transcript of that complete section of the radio interview where Sally Maulk segued from a discussion about technology and fire management right into her question(s) about Yarnell…

      At +4:00 into the radio interview recording at the web link above…
      ———————————————————————————————-
      Sally Maulk: You mentioned the enourmous change and improvements in technology and how we use technology in terms of fire management… I mean… that’s just been revolutionary in the last few years and ever more so… but… it’s also a challenge, isn’t it, when we’re in remote areas, which is where fire often burns, and the technology is not accessible in some cases.

      Tom Zimmerman: Ya know… a lot of the electronic technology that we need to access via Internet or our cellphones or things like that may not be accessible in remote areas, but we do have a lot of… uh… tools that are usable on handheld devices whether they’re tablets, smartphones or portable or laptop computers that if we can have generators or battery power then we can access that kind of tools. It may not be the full range of tools available to us but there’s always a subset available.

      ——————-
      NOTE: Here at +4:50 into the recording… interviewer Sally Maulk segues from the ‘technology’ discussion to ask Zimmerman about Yarnell. Astonishingly, she is actually under the FALSE impression that Granite Mountain was UNABLE to communicate with anyone and THAT is the reason they all died…
      ——————–

      Sally Maulk: I think the contrast that sticks out most in my mind is this past summer in the Yarnell Hill tragedy. I mean… here we have satellites, we have smartphones, we have ALL these things… and then we have a Hotshot crew out there that is out of radio contact. That is OUT of communication with who they need to be in communication with.

      Tom Zimmerman: The Yarnell Hill fire led us to a tragedy that is fairly unique in our history in… in that… uh… we lost an ENTIRE crew. And… uh…

      Sally Maulk: Nineteen of twenty.

      Tom Zimmerman: Nineteen of twenty… but nineteen people who were in one contiguous area working together… and… and so there were NO survivors or eyewitnesses to what happened and what they did… so will never have the answers to all the questions that… that… and all the decisions and all the information they had available to them. Ya know… we… we can only assume, and we uh… we can… uh…it APPEARS readily apparent from what they did and what… how they acted that they… the information they had available to them they thought… uh… enabled them to take safe actions and put them in a safe position… until such time as that information was so sparse about the changing conditions they didn’t realize what was happening.

      Now… when… when we say we have all the technology… satellites, uh… cellphone coverage, radio communications and they were OUT of communication… that’s NOT TRUE.

      They… they were on top of a mountain and they had coverage.
      They HAD radio coverage.
      They… they WERE in communication.

      They were NOT actively ENGAGED on the radio.

      So… uh… they… they had cellphones and they had cell coverage. They had radios that WERE working. I mean… uh… we always have problems with radios and there were… there were frequency…

      Sally Mauk: …and cellphones.

      Tom Zimmerman: …there were frequency problems with the radios but they HAD communications right up to the point that they… they entered their… their… their passage down to the deployment site.

      Sally Maulk: But one of the takeaways, as noted from that tragedy, is that we can’t ASSUME that because we have all these tools that they’re going to bail us out always. We still have that HUMAN factor that is so crucial.

      Tom Zimmerman: Uh… that’s very… very good point. Uh… the human factors… the human involvement… the human dimensions of fire management are very, very important… and… uh… that… that continues to grow in our awareness of that… and continues to grow in training. We have leadership training. We have human factor training. We have… you know… combine the safety training and our… our… uh… just our general training that… uh… all accomodates that and is consistent with that.

      ( END OF ANY DISCUSSION OF YARNELL )
      ( INTERVIEW CONTINUES FOR ANOTHER 5 MINUTES ).
      —————————————————————————————–

      • Bob Powers says

        Good information—I believe he is hired as the big Fire witness for the State Fire
        I remember him from way back not personally but he is a very sharp Fireman
        Type 1 IC and Regional FMO. If it has any thing to do with wildland Fire he has a trunk load of info. This could get real interesting————–

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Bob Powers post March 4, 2015 at 10:20 pm

          >> Bob Powers said…
          >>
          >> I believe he is hired as the big Fire witness for the State Fire.

          Just based on his own PUBLIC comments during this PUBLIC radio interview… Arizona State Forestry would be nuts to let this guy get anywhere near a witness stand.

          First he ‘tows the SAIR line’ and says…

          ————————————————–
          We can only assume, and we uh… we can… uh…it APPEARS readily apparent from what they did and what… how they acted that they… the INFORMATION they had available to them they thought… uh… enabled them to take safe actions and put them in a safe position.
          ————————————————–

          QUOTE: “The INFORMATION they had available to them”.

          Then ( literally ) 6 seconds later and ( literally ) in the ‘same breath’ he says…

          ————————————————–
          When we say… they were OUT of communication… that’s NOT TRUE.
          They were on top of a mountain
          They had coverage.
          They HAD radio coverage.
          They WERE in communication.
          They WERE NOT actively ENGAGED on the radio.
          They HAD communications right up to the point that they entered
          their passage down to the deployment site.
          —————————————————-

          So what kind of ‘mental gymnastics’ is this guy performing in his own brain that allows him to assert that it was all about INFORMATION… and ( in his opinion ) they did the best they could with what INFORMATION they HAD… but then also assert ( in the same breath ) that the reason they didn’t have the RIGHT information to stay alive was simply their OWN fault for not ‘actively engaging’ on the RADIO.

          He asserts (publicly) that they DID have every capability and opportunity to ‘communicate’ and have ALL the RIGHT INFORMATION to make the RIGHT DECISIONS… they just weren’t bothering to actually DO that.

          If this (supposed) ‘expert witness’ gets put on a ‘witness stand’… he’s going to get torn to pieces during cross-examination.

          He is basically admitting he believes they were NEGLIGENT in not having/obtaining the right information to make the decisions they did… but once they DECIDED to BE ‘NEGLIGENT’… ( and MIS-INFORMED ) they did the best they could, anyway.

          Holy cow.

          PS: Notice that even though he ADMITS they were not ‘actively engaged’ on the (working) radios… he doesn’t go anywhere NEAR the fact that they also CHOSE to not have a Lookout for that blind stroll through explosive green fuel within a mile of an active, spotting fire.

          He is still ( apparently ) ready to perform even more mental gymnastics and just chock THAT up to “a safe decision based on the information they had”.

          Yikes.

          • Bob Powers says

            That is exactly what they want a professional witness with a great resume.
            Support to the SAIR and its findings. They always hire some one as a expert witness.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Copy that. I just don’t see how they could think any ‘testimony’ from this guy along the lines of “they did the best they could with the INFORMATION available to them” is going to ( as they say ) “stand up under cross-examination” when there he is admitting in public that they had every chance in the world to obtain ALL the INFORMATION / INTEL they needed to make good, ‘safe’ decisions… but they were NOT ( by their own choosing ) “actively engaged on the RADIO” and doing that very thing.

              It still amounts to NEGLIGENCE on the part of the 2 who were responsible for the safety of the other 17.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      HUGE CORRECTION for the original post above.

      >> WTKTT said…
      >>
      >> NOTE: Dr. Tom Zimmerman was never (apparently) involved in the
      >> original SAIT investigation. He is not listed anywhere.

      That is NOT CORRECT. My bad.

      Dr. Tom Zimmerman IS listed as a ‘consultant’ in the original SAIR report… but it is on page 113 of the SAIR in a section that is a reprint of a ‘graphic’ and was not ‘searchable’ via text search tools for PDF files.

      I can’t even ‘cut-and-paste’ his entry from the SAIR for the same reason.
      It’s in a GRAPHICS section… and not a TEXT section.

      Here is the handwritten copy of his name being mentioned at the bottom of page 113 of the SAIR document…

      NOTE: Page 113 is actual SAIR document page number. PDF file page number is 119.

      “Dr. Tom Zimmerman, Senior Wildland Fire Management Specialist, Tom Zimmerman Consulting”

      Notice that he was hired by the Arizona Forestry SAIT team as ‘private consultant’… via Zimmerman’s OWN ‘Consulting Firm’ that bears his name… and NOT hired in his official capacity as the President of the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF)… a position he has (supposedly) held since 2012 and was CURRENTLY still holding at the time the SAIT hired him as a consultant.

      Arizona Forestry has maintained ( in legal exchanges in ALJ Hearing file documents ) that none of the SAIT members were ever ’employees’ of Arizona Forestry.

      So what ADOSH is really asking about now is exactly what CONTINUING relationship Arizona Forestry has had with Zimmerman SINCE the SAIT investigation.

      Arizona Forestry is admitting they HAVE sent Dr. Tom Zimmerman their own SAIT report… AND they have sent him all the ADOSH citations and reports.

      That means there HAS been some kind of CONTINUING ‘consulting’ relationship with Zimmerman SINCE the SAIT investigation… and ADOSH wants all documents ( and fee schedules ) and correspondence related to that CONTINUING relationship.

    • Marti Reed says

      Just a little note. For what it’s worth.

      When I googled and read some of Zimmerman’s most recent things, the sense I got was that he was emphasizing how wildland firefighting in the 21st Century has to change, given climate change, fuels loading, increasingly “extreme” fire behavior, increased danger to fire-fighters (and thence increasingly pulling them OFF fires, especially during times of increased intensity, for safety reasons), etc etc etc, and that communities have to take increasing responsibility (including financial) for their own self-protection.

      Which are all points I TOTALLY AGREE WITH.

      Which led me to think that it might be possible that AZ Department of Forestry might be retaining him as an “expert witness”/consultant in order to help them frame THAT message as a defense to the Homeowners Lawsuits.

      Which I think is not unjustifiable, to a certain extent. I mean, really, the Yarnell folks obviously were not taking seriously the warnings and the subsequent grants to help them do at least SOME mitigation. As are, neither the residents of Payson, currently.

      Where it isn’t justifiable, in my humble opinions, is in the realm of AzDF’s mismanagement of the fire (including the INITIAL ATTACK, which we picked apart, in detail, in January), and their assignment of a Type 2 Short Team, which set the stage for most of the disastrous nature of everything that happened on Sunday.

      Including the almost incomprehensible and, in my mind NEGLIGENT procrastination around ordering an evacuation of Yarnell/Glen Isla, which really DID lead to the insanity and, thus, emotionally COSTLY botched evacuation of Glen Isla in particular and Yarnell in general.

      And, since there is no “mediation” on the table around THAT set of seriously expensive lawsuits, it would definitely make sense for ADF to be retaining someone like Zimmerman to help craft a “defense” to those charges.

      And it makes even way more sense to me NOW that, given his contradictory statements regarding Granite Mountain, that THAT might not be the realm in which they are interested in retaining him.

      I also, however, currently find it quite CURIOUS that ADF is, seemingly, so resistant to disclose their financial relationship to him. I mean REALLY??

      I can’t comprehend ANYTHING in their retaining of him that would seem to be problematic.

      And, I would also think HE would not want that to appear “problematic.”

      Unless…………………………..what?

      It’s really too bad we don’t have a legal eagle that really cares about helping us uncover the TRUTH working with us on these mysteries.

      And, again, thanks to you, WTKTT, for digging this stuff up and posting it here, even tho it might not be the most EXCITING stuff to discuss. But maybe that’s a good thing, all things considered………

  15. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Elizabeth (counselor) post on March 4, 2015 at 6:35 am

    >> counselor said…
    >>
    >> Joy made clear that there was a way down

    When? Where?

    Once again… you talk out of the side of your mouth as it SUITS you and you make statements without providing links and/or cutting/pasting from the evidence record.

    >> counselor also said…
    >>
    >> whether you want to call it a path or a game trail.

    You still persist with your bullshit.

    That fuel-choked drainage where even the SAIT was just GUESSING they ‘went down’ was NEITHER a ‘path’ NOR a ‘game trail’. You keep having to rewrite the evidence to fit your agenda so that every decision that was made could be construed as ‘reasonable’.

    >> counselor also said…
    >>
    >> Plus, the pictures make that clear.

    WHICH pictures? Make WHAT clear?

    If you are talking about Joy’s ground level photos… therre is NOTHING in them that suggests there was any visible/discernible PATH or GAME TRAIL there.

    Quite the opposite. Joy’s pictures indicate nothing but that someone would have to be half-crazy to think heading through that entanglement under time-sensitive conditions was even a SANE thing to be doing.

    >> counselor also said…
    >>
    >> Geesh, WTKTT, you act like Fred, like an obsessed dog with a bone,
    >> desperate to establish that GM somehow knowingly killed themselves.

    Once again.. you are TOTALLY full of shit.

    I am not ( nor have I ever been ) ‘desperate’ to ‘establish’ anything.

    YOU are the one who is ‘desperate’ to ‘establish’ that every single decision that was made that day could be construed as ‘reasonable’ and you keep deperately trying to twerk and jerk the existing evidence to fit your agenda and your SAIT-like pre-determined narrative.

    Everything you need to know or understand about me is in the handle I use to participate in this PUBLIC discussion. I just want to know the TRUTH about what actually happened.

    You STILL did your ‘selective response’ dance and didn’t answer the question I asked you.

    WHY are you unable to admit that… with a simple preponderance of the existing evidence… it appears POSSIBLE that the 2 men who were leading those others WERE, in fact, perfectly AWARE they were taking a BIG risk that day… but they went ahead and played ‘Ranger Danger’ ( as they were used to doing? ) and they did it anyway.

    And their poor / reckless decision making got themselves killed along with the 17 others they were responsible for.

    It is still perfectly POSSIBLE that is EXACTLY what happened… and no attempts on your part to rewrite the ( current ) evidence record are going to remove that possibility.

  16. calvin says

    WTK said

    All the SAIT could do was GUESS how they actually descended into the canyon.

    I have always assumed (possibly inaccurately?) that the SAIT got the route off of a GPS GM were known to have had with them

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Re: GPS

        There has never been ANY indication what happened to the Granite Mountain GPS unit ( that you, yourself first spotted on Caldwell’s pack strap in that photo of him using his drip torch with his sleeves rolled UP ).

        It just VANISHED.

        Brendan McDonough testified that GM normally carried at least FOUR of those puppies… but NONE of them ever turned up ANYWHERE in the evidence record… not even the one we KNOW was ‘out there’ that day.

        It is possible that the ‘squiggly line’ in the SAIR report diagram ( which is simply still assumed to be their guess at the path they took… but that, itself, was never even stated in their own report ) was actually recorded via some SAIT person walking down with a GPS unit.

        But there has NEVER been any real PROOF about exactly WHERE and HOW those men descended from the two-track.

        Even the SAIT’s own ‘guess’ about where they left the two-track remains a few hundred feet SHORT of where Tex (Sonny) Gilligan says he found the roll of burned-up pink tape/flagging.

        Re: 1604 move-out time.

        Again… the SAIT itself has NEVER said where they were coming up with some of these things. It has always been assumed they were taking that time from the Wade Parker photo that was texted to the Network.

        But they were ALSO assuming that is when Parker TOOK the photo.

        That is NOT ( nor ever has been ) the case. We proved that here in this ongoing discussion.

        The LAST known picture which proves the men were still AT the ‘rest spot’ was one of MacKenzie’s cellphone pictures taken at 1555.

        It is still possible they ‘gaggled up’ to leave at 1555 and that is why all the picture taking abruptly stopped at THAT time ( and not 1604 ).

        It is also still perfectly possible that Wade Parker texted the photo that he ACTUALLY took circa 1550 out to the Network at 1604 WHILE they were already hiking south towards the box canyon.

        Unless Brendan heard things to ‘fill in the blanks’ there… OR Caldwell’s GPS Unit actually surfaces one day… that is likely the best we’ll ever be able to do there.

        They left the ‘rest spot’ sometime between 1555 and 1605.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Followup…

          >> WTKTT said…
          >>
          >> “They left the ‘rest spot’ sometime between 1555 and 1605”

          It very well might turn out that they left that ‘rest spot’ on the EARLY side of that 10 minute windows and not the later ( 1605 ) side.

          Mike Dudley said that MULTIPLE people reported to the SAIT hearing an ‘argument’ between Marsh and Steed about “which way to go”.

          That means it could have been ALL about whether to drop into the canyon, or not… and all that ‘arguing’ took place with Steed/Crew already standing at or near the eventual ‘Descent Point’.

          So they might have actually LEFT the ‘rest spot’ AND arrived at the ‘Descent Point’ much earlier than the SAIT thinks.

          If they actually left circa 1556 and still achieved the same travel rate the SIR says they did for that first ‘leg’ of the trip ( 15 minutes ) then that would put them at the ‘Descent Point’ as early as 1611 ( 4:11 PM ) and not 4:20 PM.

          Maybe they DID actually only start their ‘Descent’ circa 4:20 PM as the SAIR claims… but maybe that’s where the ‘missing’ 8-9 minutes got spent was with Marsh and Steed ‘arguing’ about whether they should drop off that two-track or not after Steed/Crew were already standing up there looking at the target destination ( Boulder Springs Ranch ).

          I still believe that NEITHER Marsh NOR Steed really had any frickin’ idea that the high-ridge two-track they were on actually DID continue on towards the vicinity of the BSR ( eventually ).

          It’s perfectly possible the (alleged) ‘argument’ between Marsh and Steed only had TWO options in it.

          Either we agree to drop into this canyon… or we go BACK to the safe black.

          Marsh was then somehow able to convince Jesse that ‘Option 1’ was safe… or he got tired of ‘discussing’ it an just went ahead and frickin’ ORDERED Jesse to bring those men down into that canyon.

  17. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** AZF vs. ADOSH online HEARING file UPDATED again just YESTERDAY.
    **
    ** Contains ‘announcement’ that Brendan McDonough’s pre-scheduled February 26, 2015
    ** under-oath deposition did NOT actually take place. NO reason given and NO indication
    ** of a new date for Brendan’s deposition.

    The “Arizona Forestry versus ADOSH” Administrative Law Judge ( ALJ ) Hearing file was updated again just yesterday… March 2, 2015.

    A NEW document was uploaded there and here is the direct link to it…

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6N47Z5CNR-CYmxSQkgyX2w3T2M/edit?pli=1

    From the TOP of the PDF file down… here is what it contains…

    1) Judge Mosesso GRANTS ADOSH’s request for more time to respond to Arizona Forestry’s recently filed ‘Motion for Sanctions’.

    As usual… Judge Mosesso minces no words and just informs Arizona Forestry he is granting ADOSH request…

    ——————————————————————————
    Dear Counsel: ( for Arizona Forestry )

    Complainant ( ADOSH ) has requested additional time to respond to Respondent’s ( Arizona Forestry’s ) February 25, 2015 Motion for Sanctions. The request is granted. A response may be filed on March 20, 2015.

    Sincerely;
    MICHAEL A MOSESSO
    Vice Chief Administrative Law Judge
    ——————————————————————————–

    2) Copy of ADOSH’s actual letter to Judge Mosesso asking for more time to respond to Arizona Forestry’s Feb 25 ‘Motion for Sanction’.

    It is in THIS letter sent to Judge Moseso on February 27, 2015 that we learn the February 26 under-oath deposition of Brendan McDonough did NOT take place. No reason is given in the letter and no mention of any ‘re-scheudling’ of Brendan’s under-oath deposition. Just notification to Judge Moseso that it did NOT happen ( as scheduled ) on February 26, 2015.

    The actual letter from ADOSH to Judge Moseso sent Feb 27…
    —————————————————————————————
    Dear Judge Moseso:

    Mediation is set in this matter for March 2 and 3, 2015. Meanwhile, we are in receipt of State Forestry’s February 25, 2015 “Motion for Sanctions”.State Forestry’s motion should be denied as meritless and frivolous. If this matter does NOT settle at next week’s mediation, ADOSH will file a substantive brief responding to it.

    We are also writing to let you know that Mr. Selden’s ( Attorney for Arizona Forestry ) scheduled February 26, 2015 deposition of Brendan McDonough did NOT take place.

    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

    Very truly yours,
    Valli Goss
    Attorney for ADOSH
    ——————————————————————————————

    3) Respondent’s ( Arizona Forestry’s ) MOTION for SANCTIONS for ADOSH’s repeated and prolonged violations of the Tribunal’s orders.

    This is just a copy of the MOTION that Arizona Forestry filed on February 25, 2015 ( the day before Brendan’s scheduled deposition ) asking Judge Moseso to beat the crap out of ADOSH for a number of things Arizona Forestry contends ADOSH has been ‘dragging its feet’ over during this always contentious ‘Discovery’ and ‘Exchange of Documents’ process.

    In a nutshell… here is what Arizona Forestry is pissed off about…

    I. ADOSH taking too long to supply a privilege log. In this context, the ‘privilege log’ is just a list of ALL documents that AZF thinks ADOSH has that haven’t been provided to them yet as part of ‘Discovery’ process. ADOSH has been bitching about the SAME THING in the opposite direction and accusing AZF of also withholding a full ‘privilege log’ as part of the two-way discovery process… but ADOSH is not filing any ‘Motions for Sanction’ about it.

    II. Judge told ADOSH to supply privelege log once or twice already so Moseso should now play ‘whack a mole’ with ADOSH.

    III. Arizona Forestry would like Judge Mosesso to not just play ‘whack a mole’ with ADOSH… but to actually DISMISS THE CASE ( as in… find in favor of Arizona Forestry and just DISMISS the ADOSH citations over this whole ‘privilege log’ frap ).

    Yea… like that’ll happen.

    4) EXHIBIT 1 – ADOSH’s letter to AZF detailing what they HAVE provided… and what ELSE will be provided soon.

    ** THE MIKE DUDLEY UTAH SPEECH IS NOW IMPORTANT EVIDENCE…

    One interesting thind on the ‘list’ is the obvious fact that ADOSH now considers all the “shooting his mouth off” that SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley did on June 20, 2014 in Utah to be an important part of the ‘evidence record’ in this whole Yarnell thing… and they even
    had their OWN transcript done of it which obviously includes the
    part where Dudley was saying that MULTIPLE people reported
    to the SAIT that they heard Marsh and Steed having an ‘argument’.

    ** ADOSH HAS USDA EMPLOYEE ( BLUE RIDGE ) LOGS WITH LESS REDACTIONS?

    One of the other interesting things on this ‘list’ is the fact that ADOSH seems to have already provided AZF with documents of transcripts from USDA employees ( as in Blue Ridge Hotshots? ) that have LESS redactions in them now.

    NAMES mentioned in this letter…

    Steven Hattenbach – An attorney in the OGC ( Office of General Counsel ) for the USDA… based in Phoenix. U.S. Forestry is under the USDA’s jusrisdiciton.

    Jeff M. Smith – Apparently the same “Jeff M. Smith” who is part of the “National Center for Media Forensics” lab at the University of Colorado, in Denver. They do ‘Forensic Audio Analysis’ and this Jeff M. Smith is mentioned in the letter in that context.

    Christopher Anderson – Attorney for ADOSH and the one sending this letter to Arizona Forestry (AZF) about materials being provided to them as part of this normal ‘Discovery’ process.

    From ADOSH attorney Chris Anderson’s letter to AZF…
    —————————————————————————————–
    Attached is a DVD disc containing disclosure materials. The DVD contains a video presentation by Mike Dudley ( of of the SAIT members ) to a group of Utah firefighters, a transcript of Dudley’s presentation, correspondence with Jeff M. Smith including video recordings sent to Mr. Smith, and the returned audio portions of the videos both unchanged and enhanced after he had removed the background noise, and email correspondences with Steven Hattenbach of the USDA which includes three documents that he has provided to ADOSH.

    ONE of the THREE documents provided by Mr. Hattenbach consists of notes/logs by USDA employees of the Yarnell Hill Fire. These logs contain FEWER REDACTIONS than the SAME logs provided to ADOSH by the State Forestry Division which I believe were obtained by the SAIT group. The disc also includes non-privileged correspondence and emails of which I ( ADOSH attorney Christopher Anderson ) was a party.
    —————————————————————————————–

    5) EXHIBIT 2 – Copy of a ‘Notice of Service’ for ‘privilege log’ from AZF to ADOSH.

    6) EXHIBIT 3 – Findings and order for privilege log sent from AZF to ADOSH

    7) EXHIBIT 4 – Email from ADOSH to AZF telling them lawyer Christopher Anderson was in India and asking for more time to fulfill a particular ‘Discovery’ request.

    8) EXHIBIT 5 – Letter from ADOSH to Arizona Forestry basically making the same kind of “Haven’t heard from you” complaint regarding the while ‘Discovery’ process and exchange of information.

    9) A reproduction of the same ( LONG ) ‘Request for Production of Documents’ sent from ADOSH to Arizona Forestry that was also added to the previous ALJ Hearing file in the Feb 23 online update.

    10) On page 58… yet another reproduction of the letter sent by Judge Moseso to Arizona Forestry DENYING their request to issue subpoena to Brendan McDonough to testify on Feb 26, 2015.

    11) REST OF THIS NEW DOCUMENT is just more ‘reproductions’ from the previous ALJ file that contains all the back-and-forth that went on about Brendan’s scheduled deposition and shows ( again ) Arizona Forestry telling Judge Mosesso that the reason he should SUBPOENA Brendan to appear on February 26 is because Arizona Forestry has received ‘reliable information’ from ‘Prescott City officials’ that the NEW information Brendan has would be critical to obtain BEFORE Arizona Foresty has to enter into ‘Mediation’ with the WRONGFUL DEATH lawsuit plaintiffs on March 2 and 3, 2015.

    Judge Moseso ended up denying that request for subpoena, and now we learn Brendan never did the Feb 26 deposition… so Arizona Forestry (apparently) had to enter into ‘Mediation’ yesterday and today WITHOUT knowing “Everything Brendan knows”.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup… there is no telling when we might hear what went down in the March 2 and 3 mediation sessions between Arizona Forestry and all the WRONGFUL DEATH plaintiffs… but it was interesting to read in the ALJ Hearing File posted yesterday that ADOSH has every expectation that just these TWO March 2 and 3 mediation sessions could produce a full-blown SETTLEMENT… which would ALSO then (supposedly) terminate the entire challenge from Arizona Forestry of the ADOSH citations.

      ADOSH indicates this is their expectation by telling Jude Mosesso that they aren’t even going to bother to file a full brief/response to this bullshit “Motion for Sanctions” that Arizona Forestry filed on Feb. 25 until ADOSH “sees what happens” with the March 2 and 3 mediation sessions.

      If the whole thing just “goes away”… then ADOSH’s laywers certainly don’t need to waste any time or energy composing this ‘response’ to the bullshit “Motion for Sanction”.

      The other think worth noting is that since Brendan has now BLOWN OFF his pre-scheduled ‘under-oath’ deposition for the SECOND time ( first time he blew-it-off was back on November 25, 2014… the night before it was supposed to happen )… it can be assumed that Arizona Forestry met their own worst nightmare yesterday and had to walk into that first March 2 mediation session with the WRONGFUL DEATH plaintiffs WITHOUT actually knowing everything Brendan McDonough knows.

      I would NOT want to have been any of the attorneys from the Arizona Attorney General’s office representing Arizona Forestry that had to walk into THAT meeting.

      Picture this…

      There are still RUMORS that SOME of the ‘family members’ ( including some involved in the WRONGFUL DEATH suits ) have ALREADY heard what Brendan ‘knows’ that he has has always been ‘withholding’ from investigators… and that some of them have also already seen/heard the content of this other mysterious VIDEO that has never seen the light of day.

      Imagine being one of Arizona Forestry’s lawyers having to look across the table at these family members and they ( the lawyers ) have NO IDEA who is staring at them from across the other side of the table and they know MUCH more about what actually happened out there that day than the lawyers do.

      That’s a ‘lawyer-poker-game-lightning-round’ I would NOT want to have to go through.

      Because don’t forget…

      …if Arizona Forestry does NOT come out of this mediation process with a SETTLEMENT of the WRONGFUL DEATH suits… then they are going to go to TRIAL… and there is every chance the plaintiffs already know more about what actually happened than ANY of the Arizona Forestry lawyers do.

      That’s when Arizona Forestry will HAVE to issue SUBPOENA for Brendan as a witness… and learn for themselves what Brendan REALLY knows.

      And the beat goes on…

  18. rocksteady says

    Go to the lessons learned site and look up the latest FLA, Freezeout Ridge report.

    Now read the quotes on page 20 or 31

    Pretty enlightening..

    Cant post link…

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to rocksteady post on March 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      >> rocksteady said…
      >>
      >> Go to the lessons learned site and look up the
      >> latest FLA, Freezeout Ridge report.
      >>
      >> Now read the quotes on page 20 or 31
      >>
      >> Pretty enlightening..

      Are you talking about the following on page 31…

      “Risk doesn’t start or stop when resources ENGAGE… it is ONGOING ALL THE TIME.”

      Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
      Motto: A LESSON is LEARNED when we CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR

      Freezeout Ridge Fire Snag Incident (2014)
      State: Idaho
      Incident Type: Hit by Tree
      Incident Tag/Keyword: Hand Crews, Helicopters, Medevac, Short Haul
      Incident Date: 9/21/2014
      PDF Document size: 13 megabytes

      Freezeout Ridge Fire
      Tree Strike and Emergency Longline Extraction
      September 21, 2014
      Facilitated Learning Analysis

      Page 31
      ———————————————————————-
      Also, note the themes of how risk is continuous and inescapable. In the Hotshot quotes, risk starts when they get a resource order. They are already in the middle of risk right now; it is not as though the risk starts when they bring the crew in to work on the ground. You will see a similar theme later, when we see how aircraft are used to check the fire in this area. The point there is: even after you remove ground troops, the risk continues. Now it’s being held by aerial resources. This changes the character of the risk involved. The risk changes, but it doesn’t go away. This same theme shows up in the broader discussion of risk involved with a monitoring strategy: if the fire makes it past the burn scars then there would be a much larger, more complex and harder to control fire, which could mean much more risk to firefighters and the public. The point is risk doesn’t start and stop when resources engage; it is ongoing all the time (risk is continuous).
      ———————————————————————–

      >> rocksteady also said…
      >>
      >> Cant post link…

      This should work…

      http://www.wildfirelessons.net/orphans/viewincident?DocumentKey=1d7babd0-7a5e-4177-90b8-a6a08cda5536

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Yep… that link posted above DOES work.

        Great document and very relevant. Thanks for finding/posting about it.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            I see them… but remind me again what I’m supposed to be noticing. What is/was the actual point you were making with this?

            • rocksteady says

              in my opinion a fairly lax attitude towards a known hazard.

              Is this how Hotshots think about hazards, depending on previous risk mental files? Or do the do a thorough risk assessment every time they come onto a new fire/division/line/stagjng area.

              Would it not be better to ensure safety by doing a indepth assessment of the work area, rather than “blowing it off” like their comments seem to indicate…

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            **
            ** YARNELL MEMORIAL BOARD NOW CLEARED
            ** TO BUY DEPLOYMENT SITE BUT NO ADJACENT
            ** LANDOWNERS WILLING TO GRANT PUBLIC ACCESS

            About 6 hours ago… Prescott Daily Courier article appeared regarding last public meeting of the Yarnell Memorial Board on Feb 27. Brendan McDonough appears to have been at that meeting the day AFTER his previously scheduled under-oath deposition failed to take place ( for the SECOND time ). Board now has State Park’s official written permission to proceed with purchasing the desired 250 acres that includes the deployment site… but no landowners are currently willing to give up any land to create any PUBLIC access to the site.

            http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=142501&TM=54354.63

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              This comment about Feb 27 meeting was supposed to show up as a new parent comment up at the top. I have no idea how it ended up HERE. Will try posting it again.

    • Marti Reed says

      Thanks for this conversation, both Rocksteady and WTKTT. I have been following it, and reading the FLA, etc, and it sparked a bit of a search for more information today. I will write the results in a fairly long, complicated post at the top.

  19. Elizabeth says

    FYI, Brendan McDonough was not deposed on February 26. I have no idea if the deposition has been rescheduled. I doubt it.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Testing… testing… 1… 2… 3… 1… 2… 3…

        Ah, ok… I thought maybe the channel was down.

        Still waiting for a reply.

        Do you know WHY Brendan did NOT appear ( for the second time now ) for a scheduled under-oath deposition?

        “I have no idea… my sources aren’t that good. I just know it didn’t happen” is an acceptable response.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Never mind, counselor.

          As usual… you refuse to quote obvious sources when you easily could.

          It’s obvious that you only learned this by reading the online ALJ Hearing File… which just updated yesterday.

          In ADOSH’s letter to Judge Mosesso they inform the Judge that the pre-scheduled under-oath deposition with Brendan McDonough did NOT take place… but no REASON is given.

          From online ALJ Hearing file posted March 2, 2015 at…

          https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6N47Z5CNR-CYmxSQkgyX2w3T2M/edit?pli=1

          The actual letter from ADOSH to Judge Moseso sent Feb 27…
          —————————————————————————————
          Dear Judge Moseso:

          Mediation is set in this matter for March 2 and 3, 2015. Meanwhile, we are in receipt of State Forestry’s February 25, 2015 “Motion for Sanctions”.State Forestry’s motion should be denied as meritless and frivolous. If this matter does NOT settle at next week’s mediation, ADOSH will file a substantive brief responding to it.

          We are also writing to let you know that Mr. Selden’s ( Attorney for Arizona Forestry ) scheduled February 26, 2015 deposition of Brendan McDonough did NOT take place.

          Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

          Very truly yours,
          Valli Goss
          Attorney for ADOSH
          ——————————————————————————————

          See a longer posting about this NEW ALJ Hearing file up above.

  20. Elizabeth says

    Rocksteady, you said down below: “How long should have GM sat safe in the black?
    Easy answer Until They Could Move Safely to Their Next Target without Risk of Being Entrapped…
    How to figure when that is EASY ANSWER Once they have had enough time to observe fire behaviour, gather Intel from other sources (AA/bucket ships/sir tankers ) predict the timing of their next move, then decide on the chance of success.”

    At roughly 3:27-ish p.m., the NWS warned to expect winds out of the NE to arrive within the half hour. In response, folks on the YHF (or the FBAN) told the NWS that those winds had ALREADY started arriving and impacting the fire behavior. Indeed, in that same time frame (roughly 3:30 or 3:35 or so), Brendan left his lookout point due to the fire turning from a NORTH-moving fire to an EAST-moving fire. Rory Collins (Air Attack) noticed this same 3:30-ish or 3:35 etc. “heckuva wind shift,” too, which is why he told B33 to bring the incoming VLAT to provide support on the east side of the fire (as opposed to the north). Indeed, this is why the retardant line was lost, which is something of which the air-study folks learned at 3:42 p.m.

    So, some time around 3:25-ish or before, the winds started changing, which changed the fire from a NORTH head fire to an EAST head fire.

    AA told GM or Marsh (presumably the latter) before AA left the fire at 3:58-ish p.m. that there was likely an hour or two before the newly-directed fire made it to Yarnell. Gary Cordes, who was in charge of structure protection on the east side of the fire similarly thought he would have an hour or so once his trigger points were reached (rather than the barely 15 minutes or so he appears to instead have had).

    It seems that GM or Marsh paid attention and watched the fire from that 3:30-ish alleged wind shift to perhaps at least 4 p.m. before deciding to move. Were there other sources of intel they should have considered (other than looking at the sky, which presumably they also did, which showed no incoming clouds from the NE and which showed no column movement that would portend a 90 degree dramatic turn from a head fire to the east to a head fire to the south)?

    I am asking sincerely. I am trying to think through what GM was seeing versus what they SHOULD have been looking at….

    As always, thanks!

    • rocksteady says

      Let me put it this way…. You can make your own conclusion.

      They were on a fire that was showing agressive fire behaviour. The wind shifted, pushing the fire East. AA said it would take a couple hours to hit Yarnell. They had been observing fire behaviour from the lunch spot. Their route of travel to the BSR was going to be in the green….

      Would you, if you were a WFF, based on all of your training and experience, be williing to risk your neck to get to the BSR under the premise of “Geez, I hope this wind stays blowing the same way” or “Wonder if the fire will change direction due to terrain or fuels once the wind subsides”…

      IN AGGRESSIVE FIRE BEHAVIOUR (I did no t say extreme, that came later) a crew MUST evaluate all of the factors involved (wind, weather , terrain, fuels,etc etc) BEFORE committing to a mission, and then they sure as hell better have a Plan B, C and D in case it goes Sideways…

      They KNEW McD was no longer their lookout, so who took over?? Air Attack? SPGS? Blue Ridge? If you don’t know for sure, its a NO-GO. Instead, “You stay safe and Hunker”…

      GM did not need a “red flag Warning” or a Fire Behaviour forecast. to tell them what teh fire was going to do, they sat and had lunch and watched it happen….. So an experienced crew had lunch and watched the fire evolve and then decided they would give it a try…Not a very good decision….

      • rocksteady says

        Would an experienced crew, on their home turf (weather/fuels etc) not have discussed “How many times does the wind stay like this for hours on end boys?” or “Remember that time on the Whatever fire, when the wind blew like this and then came back just as hard 20 minutes later, after the cell passed”…

        To make an informed decision….. You have to gather informed observations….

        • Elizabeth says

          Thank you, Rocksteady. THANK YOU.
          And, regarding your second post, where you kind of mention mental files – references to prior fires – this much I will say regarding Eric Marsh: He likely had far, far fewer mental files than most superintendents, because he had been on a hotshot crew far, far less time than most other superintendents as of 2013. Meaning, a guy like Curtis Heaton, who became a Hotshot Superintendent, had to cut his teeth under someone like Tony Sciacca, and likely serve as an ASSISTANT SUPT. for a number of years before becoming a Supt. This means that a guy like Heaton had years of standing with Sciacca to look at bad fire behavior and discuss “SCIACCA’s” mental files (from other fires) while Heaton developed his own. Every Hotshot Sup. from 2000 and beyond of whom I am aware *OTHER* than Marsh had that mentoring type of experience – they served on a Hotshot crew as the Assistant or some such, such that they got to have the back-and-forth with the Supt. about the Supt.’s mental files from other fires versus what they were seeing that day, on that fire. Marsh never had that. He never served as the second-in-command for someone who had really deep files, like Paul Musser, Marty Rose, Tony Sciacca, Kenny Jordan, Brit Rosso, or the other hotshot guys who are known to have been stellar mentors, in part because they had this deep pool of files and they knew how to talk their mentees through them. Even Greg Smith, for example, who was the Supt. of Ironwood – the other municipality-run Hotshot crew – had served at the elbow of at least a couple of these long-time Hotshot sups such that he got the benefit of their mental files and he watched them closely (fire after fire) do exactly the type of analogizing you suggest, such that he could adopt it as his own. Marsh never had the chance to work as the second-in-command to a long-in-the-tooth guy like Musser or Jordan who had deep, deep, deep reserves of prior fires to draw from and discuss with Marsh to expand his base of “remember when this fire did that…..”

          I hope this makes sense. Trying to explain this without spending hours typing this post might not produce the most coherent or accurate post. Apologies in advance.

          • rocksteady says

            A crew sup does not have to have a huge mental file database to make good decisions.

            There are a lot of experienced, pretty smart people on teh crews that have no desire to become a sup, so they are content to be a sawyer or a crew member

            Dig into their mental files (that is intel gathering)

            If not a lot of experience, fall back to your training to assist in making a decision (fire weather, fire behaviour, shelter avoidance, basic firefighting)

            If none of this helps you make a good decision, fall back on to the old faithful, tried and true…………………………….

            Wait for it!!!

            Wait!!!

            THE 10 AND 18, they came about because others made bad decisions. They are there so you do not make their mistakes again…

            • Elizabeth says

              Rocksteady, you said “here are a lot of experienced, pretty smart people on teh crews that have no desire to become a sup, so they are content to be a sawyer or a crew member. Dig into their mental files (that is intel gathering)”

              My impression is that Granite Mountain did not have that type of a bench (so to speak). Meaning, they had not existed as a Type 1 crew for a long time, so they did not have the deepest bench. To be clear, obviously they had smart people who had been with the crew for a while. But, at least compared to the data I am pulling regarding other AZ crews like Flagstaff or Payson, they did not have the deepest bench – they just hadn’t been around that long.

              As to your comment about the 10 and the 18, I have two responsive comments:
              1. The 10 are rules of ENGAGEMENT, right? GM was arguably dis-engaging or at least moving to restate. This is the point that Todd Foster brought up elsewhere.
              2. Dare I ask what of the 10 and the 18 you believe that GM violated? I believe – as apparently does Kenny Jordan and the WFF investigator who looked into Kenny’s deployment – that it is possible to follow “the rules” and still end up in a bad, bad situation. I take it you disagree? 🙂

              • rocksteady says

                Current and predicted Fire Behaviour”

                If you don’t know for sure, you stay on the safe decision, not a risky x-country trek.

                They ASSUMED the fire and weather would stay in the same directionl they reached the BSR….

                THEY WERE WRONG…

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Yes. Unfortunately DEAD WRONG. The ‘wrongful death’ suits will decide where the boundary might be between sheer arrogance and stupidity and sheer culpable negligence.

                  I think it’s pretty absurd that ‘counselor’ is off on yet another weird tangent to the effect that someone who had started his own Wildfire Training Academy somehow hadn’t had his hand held long enough to be expected to know how to keep the 18 men he was in charge of alive that day.

                  It has nothing to do with ‘mental files’. It has all to do with bad decision making and sheer negligence.

                • Bob Powers says

                  I am going to say this one more time ——

                  WHENYOU ARE ON A FIRE ON A MOUNTAIN YOU ARE ENGAGED UNTILL YOU ARE BACK IN FIRE CAMP.
                  WALKING—WORKING—-RESTING—LUNCH BREAK—-
                  TO AND FROM THE FIRE LINE. ON ROADS AND TRAILES SHORT CUTS AND WITH FUEL BETWEEN YOU AND THE FIRE..

                  AT ALL TIMES THE FIRE CAN EAT YOUR LUNCH—

                  THAT IS THE 10 AND 18—Granit Mountain violated severial of the 1o and ignored severial of the 18 I have been through this before.

                  Look it up Elizabeth your on another campaign to take us off track. You are wrong and GM was dead wrong………..

                • Elizabeth says

                  Rocksteady said: “”Current and predicted Fire Behaviour” If you don’t know for sure, you stay on the safe decision, not a risky x-country trek.”

                  I have to image GM didn’t see the trek as risky, right? I mean, for the majority of the trek, they were all their own lookouts – they were up high. Then, the last part of the trek was down a game trail that, if Bob Powers is to be believed, Eric Marsh had just traversed. It should have been a quick move – that last part of the move, that is.

                  When you are moving to re-stage or out scouting, don’t you sometimes have to go through the green, and don’t you therefore by definition end up having to assume – at least for a very very short window of time – that the fire is not going to explode faster than you can get out of the way, change from an east head fire into a SOUTH head fire, and cover 3/4 of a mile in a matter of minutes to end up on top of you?

                  This was the point that the poster named “WFF” brought up (maybe to Bob Powers?) roughly a year ago, as I recall. My understanding is that that poster was a guy who worked on fires in the SW or AZ, but maybe I am misremembering.

                    • Elizabeth says

                      Marti, BRILLIANT CATCH! (I don’t know if it is true – Bret’s data, that is – but it is a stellar point on your part.)

                    • Elizabeth says

                      Everyone other than me is trying to make the point that entrapments occur on the way to a safety zone? Everyone is trying to make that point? How did I miss it? Whose posts am I not seeing?

                    • Bob Powers says

                      It was true on South Canyon and Yarnell.
                      The Cal Fire last year.

                      Again when you stretch the distance to a SZ you start playing Russian roulette.
                      An SZ a mile or more is way to far a SZ a half mile can be to far depending on the fuel type.
                      Grass Sage And Light brush you better be really close 100 yards or less———–

                    • Marti Reed says

                      You said, “Everyone other than me is trying to make the point that entrapments occur on the way to a safety zone?”

                      That’s the entire thing we are talking about.

                      You said, “How did I miss it? Whose posts am I not seeing?”

                      That’s what we keep being frustrated by.

                      As in every post that expresses something like, “How can you keep missing what everybody keeps saying??????”

                  • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                    Reply to Elizabeth (counselor)
                    post on March 3, 2015 at 3:53 pm

                    >> counselor said…
                    >>
                    >> Rocksteady said: “”Current and predicted
                    >> Fire Behaviour” If you don’t know for sure,
                    >> you stay on the safe decision, not a risky
                    >> x-country trek.”
                    >>:
                    >> I have to image GM didn’t see the trek
                    >> as risky, right?

                    WRONG. You do NOT ( and SHOULD not ) “have to image” it that way.

                    Maybe those are the neural pathways that just seem to be unable to fire in your dense brain.

                    WHY can you not simply ‘image’ ( your word? ) a scenario where these men WERE aware of ‘risk’ and they DID realize they were ‘taking a chance’…

                    …but they just went ahead and played “Ranger Danger” ( as they were used to doing? ) and the 2 men willing to ‘risk it all’ just led all those others to their deaths?

                    It is POSSIBLE that is EXACTLY what happened and, indeed, what a ‘preponderance’ of the evidence’ is actually indicating.

                    The 2 men in charge KNEW it was risky.

                    They did it anyway… and killed themselves and the other 17 they were responsible for.

                    WHY do you have such a problem with that?

                  • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                    Reply to Elizabeth (counselor) post on
                    March 3, 2015 at 3:53 pm

                    >> counselor said…
                    >>
                    >> …the last part of the trek
                    >> was down a game trail.

                    Bzzzzt… More of your ‘delusions’ and attempts to rewrite the evidence to suit your own agenda.

                    There is NO EVIDENCE there were ANY identifiable ‘game trails’ there for them to use.

                    The SAIT investigation was so amateur-hour and incompetent that there has never been any proof provided as to WHAT exact ‘route’ they took for ( as you are describing it ) “the last part of the trek”.

                    All the SAIT could do was GUESS how they actually descended into the canyon.

                    PLEASE STOP with your incessant…

                    “It’s not what you don’t know that scares us,
                    it’s what you know fer sure that just ain’t so”

                    It’s REALLY annoying.

                    • Elizabeth says

                      Joy made clear that there was a way down, whether you want to call it a path or a game trail. Plus, the pictures make that clear.

                      Geesh, WTKTT, you act like Fred, like an obsessed dog with a bone, desperate to establish that GM somehow knowingly killed themselves. Indeed, I think “suicide” was the word actually used when Fred Schoeffler gave John Dougherty “anonymous” quotes to use in JD’s most recent article.

                    • Bob Powers says

                      Elizabeth you misquote Joy and Sonny—

                      They said their were game trails they also said in the Canyon the brush was so thick that moving thru the game trails was very slow going and not something most hikers would do.

                      Let me also say you have never been in thick brush following a game trail you do not have any idea what they are.

                      Deer 4 ft tall 18 inches wide do not break open a very large trail in 1o ft brush. Rabbits, raccoons. squirrels small animals do not leave very large paths.

                      So back to deer a 6 ft person working thru a 4 ft high opening really- really slow going cutting an opening high enough and wide enough for a person other wise you a crawling on hands and knees. Not to mention running into rocks bolder size you have to go around or over.

                      I am suspecting a New York Lawyer has never been in any thing like that in as well 104 Deg. Temp. As has been stated before it is very slow going.

                  • rocksteady says

                    Yes Elizabeth, sometimes we do have to travel in the green from A to B, but it should be done with intelliegence gathering such as I laid out above. Terrain, current and predicted weather and fire behaviour, fuels, and the big one “NEED”… is it really necessary to short cut through flashy fuels, already showing indications of aggressive and potentially explosive fire behaviour?

                    Its all about risk vs. reward. Is there a HIGH probability of success or a 50/50. If it is not 95% chance of succees, I would say No-Go.

                    I can not fathom that experienced WFF on their own turf (fuels, terrain, weather, etc) would make such a risky decision without an outside, supervisory influence. Again back to the theory of push vs. pull.

                    I know it may be difficult for you Elizabeth, but your Lawyer brain is ruling your comments. If someone posts a comment, they are doing it at face value (as far as I can see) they are not attempting to be untruthful or evade answering the question, so there is no need for you to “rephrase” the question, hoping to get a different answer.

                    Look at a post and analyze it with your Lawyer lens, then reread it as a “face value” lens. I am sure you will see the difference.

                    I am in noo way trying to offend you, I hope you don’t take it that way, I am just suggesting that you look at the posts with a different perspective. Give it a try and see if there is a difference.

                    Some of the posts I look at from my FBAN lens, others from a WFF, others from a supervisor, still others from a Canadian-who-has-never-fought-fire-in-the-US-or teh-Chapparal-fuel-type. I rely on others, who have been there, done that to help paint a picture of the specific comment. They are my technical specialists.. A valuable source of information and knowledge, based on many years of experience.

                    Again, EN, no offence intended.

            • Bob Powers says

              TWO THINGS

              Marsh had reached a Division Supervisor level this as well has a lot of requirements of Fire assignments from Crew Boss to Strike teem leader. 20 years in Fire should have given Marsh a world of knowledge
              —If he was paying attention— Severial years as Superintendent with a minimum of 30 Fire a year as well. He had the exposure— did he pay attention to the on the ground in your face Fire behavior????

              We still have the possibility becoming more prevalent that he was below the crew in the Canyon and could not see the Fire activity.
              And Steed could not get it across to Marsh that the Fire was changing with the winds and the activity was increasing.
              One was not listening to the other.

              So if Steed was ordered to bring the crew down to the Ranch
              Then Steed did as he was told. Seems very plausible to me.

              Also something we have dodged around here is If the GMHS did not have Shelters would they have made the move they did.
              The Exposure and risk was high– was the Shelter being relied on to much by GM??????
              Basing that on some prior statements of deployment sites– VS– SZ

            • SR says

              Marsh had lived and worked in the area for a number of years, in an outdoor role. I assure you that house painters and fishing and hunting guides in that area would have had pretty good mental files as to what the weather might do, and even what the fire might do. Rocksteady is also correct that, if EM felt a lack of insight in this regard, and didn’t trust the weather forecast, what he himself had seen and could see, and reports of others in this regard, certainly asking the crew their opinion would have been easy.

              Likewise for the decision to bushwhack. I think many people want to gloss over how difficult dense chaparral is to bushwhack through. While GM may have had limited experience in actually bushwhacking as a crew through chaparral, the majority of the crew should have had enough experience doing so at some time in their lives to know that they were being asked to do something that would be long, tedious, arduous, and slow even without a fire present.

              In understandable attempts to excuse some aspects of the decision to bushwhack, this is glossed over. I compare it to attempts to say that the BSR would have REASONABLY looked much closer to Marsh and Steed than it was when the bushwhack was being contemplated. Really? They had never been in a position on a ridge where a structure down below looked closer than it was? They had no access to maps and no knowledge of the local area? Same goes for deciding to go through that brush. Many people reading this may never have tried to walk (and crawl) through chaparral, so may wonder what the big deal is. Consider that the tree canopy is basically at ground level — which is why chaparral has a stand-replacement crown fire regime — and think what moving through dense holly or oleander in the backyard is like if you’re trying to prune it.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Just pointing out ( once again… ad nauseum ) that most of “counselor’s” psuedo-narrative above is completely wrong and just continues to epitomize the following Mark Twain quote…

      “It ain’t what she doesn’t know that’s scary.
      It’s what she knows fer SURE that just ain’t so.”

      Just more ‘agenda’ in plain view here.
      Reader(s) beware.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Just read down in this very same chapter
          You are literally a DELUSIONAL brick wall.
          Doesn’t matter how many times you are shown facts… you continue to just believe whatever you want and pursue your own agenda(s).

          You will continue to slip in every little reference to EAST anywhere you can because your delusions NEED the ‘narrative’ to read that way.

          As for watching the weather for a half-hour… you need that, too, to support your narrative… even though I already disproved your attempt to rewrite reality on just THAT topic down below in this same chapter.

          You really are a ‘piece a work’, counselor… and you are NOT fooling anyone.

          • Elizabeth says

            Are you saying the fire was not marching east?
            And are you saying that 3:25-ish p.m. until 4:05-ish p.m. does not equal a half hour?

            If that is not what you are saying, then I honestly am confused.

            • Bob Powers says

              OK I had to answer this——-
              No the fire was not marching east—
              No it is not equal to a half hour/or 30 min.
              addition says 40 min almost 3/4 of an hour/or 2/3 of an hour.

              You are confused but we have all figured that out———-

              • Elizabeth says

                Bob, you missed the point. Fred Schoeffler or WTKTT indicated that GM was not observing the fire behavior for anywhere near 30 minutes, but, rather, for some amount of time far less than 30 minutes. I was making the point, in response, that it appears from my calculations (roughly 3:25 until roughly 4:05-ish) that GM was observing the weather behavior before moving for at LEAST 30 minutes (and likely, as you point out, MORE than 30 minutes).

                Indeed, you, Bob Powers, are suggesting that they were watching it for at least 40 minutes after the appearance of the winds, to gauge the impacts that the winds were having so that they could try to better anticipate the fire behavior. 🙂

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Reply to Elizabeth (counselor) post on
                  March 5, 2015 at 8:32 am

                  >> counselor said…
                  >>
                  >> …it appears from my calculations (roughly
                  >> 3:25 until roughly 4:05-ish) that GM was
                  >> observing the weather behavior before
                  >> moving for at LEAST 30 minutes

                  The debate is not over the MATH.
                  4:05 PM minus 3:25 PM is, in fact, 40 minutes.

                  What you refuse to say is WHY you are setting
                  a START time of 3:25 PM for your carte-blanche
                  statement “GM ( the whole group ) was observing
                  the weather”.

                  On WHAT are you basing THAT assumption?

                  What you are ultimately still trying to push is YOUR theory that Marsh or Steed ( indeed… you are trying to lump ALL 19 men into the generic ‘GM’ reference ) somehow saw the wind shift… and then COLLECTIVELY ( ALL of them ) thought that event was OVER and it was now SAFE to proceed towards the Boulder Springs Ranch.

                  So WHAT are you really basing your 3:25 PM “GM collectively STARTED direct observations of the weather” time on?

                  What EVIDENCE?

            • Marti Reed says

              The fire was NOT “marching east.”

              The fire, under the influence of a thunderstorm, was rotating clockwise and reversing direction until it headed toward the southwest, as the prevailing winds shifted from being out of the southwest to being out of the northeast.

              At around 3:15, the east flank of the fire became active and started burning/heading toward the east, now pushed by westerly winds, threatening Sickles Road. A number of tanker and chopper drops protected the structures there. I don’t know the exact times of this push, but by the time Cordes and Musser met on 89 around 3:50 the fire’s head was now bearing down to the south and jumping Cordes’ trigger points faster than he could keep up with them, while it continued rotating clockwise.

              By 4-ish, when it is said that Granite Mountain left their photo-ops spot, the now active south fire head was beginning to roll over the ridge and heading into the Youth Camp/Shrine Road Area.

              The fire continued rotating clockwise, until the flaming front was heading southwest as it hit Glen Isla, the Boulder Springs Ranch, and the bottom of the bowl Granite Mountain then was forced to deploy in.

              At no time after about 3:30, was the fire “marching east, despite whatever you are seeing that is, apparently, causing you to keep saying that.

              • Marti Reed says

                PS There are Moore photos of, among a number of things, a SEAT drop over the Sickles Road area at 3:23 PM.

                  • Marti Reed says

                    LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    Apparently.

                    And I keep promising myself and the Universe not to continuing getting sucked into it.

                    Ah…………………..the power of a……..

                    VACUUM.

                  • Marti Reed says

                    So I ponder, after probably 30 years of teaching Middle High “Sunday School.”

                    What do you do with the one kid in the class who continues to ask irrelevant questions because he/she continues to ignore what is being said in the class?????

                    Actually, in all those years, I never ever had any kid in any class who relentlessly did this as much as Elizabeth.

                    This is not meant as snark. I’m genuinely mystified.

                    Is it Law School that does this to people? I just don’t get it.

                    I’ve over the years had many friends who were lawyers who weren’t anywhere near this ……… blindered.

    • Marti Reed says

      At 4 PM the fire was NOT a “head fire to the east.’

      It quit being that around 3;30 PM, when the air show finished dropping water and retardant over that Sickles Road area and, for some inexplicable reason, turned their focus toward the Model Creek Road area, where they continued to focus until after the T911 split drop at around 4:13 PM (which probably saved several houses, according to the aerial photographs, however……..).

      By then the fire had spent about 45 minutes rotating clockwise, pushing to the southeast and then the south. It wasn’t until 4:33 (when the fire was beginning to push to the southwest) that they finally started putting a line in where it COUNTED, over Yarnell itself, and we know what happened after that.

      This bit you seem to have in your mouth that keeps telling you to keep over-focusing on the “fire pushing to the east” is making it, apparently, impossible for you to hear what everybody is saying here about the ACTUAL dynamics and directions and winds that were actually happening on the actual fire.

      The fire was ROTATING clockwise from burning to the northeast to the southwest, and it’s various “flaming fronts” essentially reflected that ROTATION. All the way around. Every little bit of it.

      Except, of course, for topographically-influenced micro-variations, which we have discussed ad nauseum already, and which you ALSO seem to have some inability to grasp.

      • Marti Reed says

        Ooooops. I made a typo.

        When I wrote:

        “This bit you seem to have in your mouth that keeps telling you to keep over-focusing on the ‘fire pushing to the east'”

        I REALLY meant to write:

        “This bit you seem to have in your mouth that keeps telling you to keep over-focusing on the ‘fire pushing to the east’ thingy.”

        Because it really is

        a

        thingy.

    • Robert the Second says

      Elizabeth/Logical Phallacy,

      You stated: “Indeed, this is why the retardant line was lost, which is something of which the air-study folks learned at 3:42 p.m.”

      WRONG again! The retardant line was lost for several reasons, least of which was your reason. First, it was not reinforced and worked by hand with Fireline. Second, it was decadent, heavy, drought stressed, and more so it was going to burn even with retardant. Third, it’s RETARDANT and only retards or slows the fire, NOT extinguish it. Fourth, the fire will eventually eat through it and/or slam through it with a good head of steam. And I even more…..

      The only one who continue to NOT get it is YOU!

  21. rocksteady says

    Marti Reed asked the question about how we fight fire in Canada vs. the US of A.

    From my observations, some things pop out right away.

    1) We do not have structural/wildland crews. We have wildland crews and Fire Departments with some wildland training (basic)..

    2) Our wildland crews are restricted by policy as to what they can and can not do. We do not fight vehicle fires nor house fires. PERIOD. We are not trained or outfitted for these situations.

    3) We will set up structure protection on homes, in advance of a fire, but will never put a crew in a subdivision with hoselays to protect homes when the fire front comes in. For structure protection, I mean sprinklers on roofs..thats all.

    4) There is no expectation from the public that we will go into those situations. If they expect that, we set them straight. I feel thaat because it is such a common occurrence on US news networks, that the public has expectations of teh crews to risk their safety to save homes. That has to stop.

    5) We preach avoidance, again, again and again. Our employees have teh ability to refuse unsafe work, both in the union contract and under workers compensation regulation.

    6) We do not tolerate “hero tactics” on fires, rather they are chastized for being so irresponsible.

    7) We do not reprimand for a crew “backing out because they felt unsafe.

    8) We do install safety zones, as common practice, but “tactical withdrawls” are encouraged over utilizing teh safety zones.

    9) Fire behaviour advisories are a top priority from an incident level, as well as from a dispatch centre, when no IMT’s are engaged. We assess fire behaviour potential on a daily basis and communicate it out to all crews located in that location, if the numbers show potetntial for “challenging” behaviour.

    10) We rely more on Airtankers and helicopters to fight the leading edge of a fire rather than crews with hoses.(Of course that depends on teh fire behaviour)

    Have to stop, having a tough time with the site today, type a whole line and wait 5 minutes for it to show on the screen. Will try later..

    • rocksteady says

      Rebooted the beast, see if it works better.

      11) As cold and unfriendly as it sounds, we (employees and government) do not take it very personal that someones home or property burns down. There is responsibility to homeowners, who live in the Urban INterface to do FireSmart (FireWise in the US), as well as have appropriate insurance.

      12) In most areas, there is a structural fire department, who are restircted within their “chart area” to respond to fires (be it house or forest). Most are a couple mile radius outside of the municipal boundaries. They will not attend, as they legally have no authority or workers compensation coverage if they leave their chart, UNLESS we request tehm to attend on our behalf, until we can get a wff crew there. There is no County type fire departments. Maybe a small volunteer department for an isolated small community.

      13) SAFETY is number 1…. We WILL NOT threaten the lives of our WFF’s in order to save trees or structures etc. Within reason of course, as it is an inherently risky job to do.

      It seems to be working better, so I can respond easier, if need be.. 🙂

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        rocksteady… THANK YOU for taking the time to do that.

        VERY informative.

        Important question for you, though.

        How does the whole MEDIA thing come into play here?

        I mean… up there where you are… is the MEDIA any kind of absolute DRIVING force behind a lot of decision making as it is down here in the good ‘ol USA?

        Do you see the kind of management decision making based on MEDIA influence happening the way it constantly seems to in this ‘neck of the woods’?

        • rocksteady says

          We don’t see nearly as much media influence.

          The go getter reporters that sneak into fires are escorted out by police. We will escort them into a fire with Information Officer, If they request, but that depends on the fire behaviour and IF the IC approves it.

          Secondly, when we have a large fire, we institute a NOTAM (notice to airman) it restricts aircraft (planes and helis) to stay away (5 nautical mile radius, I believe) and obove 5000′ above ground level…

          Violating a NOTAM is punishable by losing your pilots licence.

          I do not see the airspace restricted as much in the US (watching California fires and the Eye-In-The-SKY news helis bombing around.)

          just like any media round the world, they are always trying to get the “scoop” on the dirt, but we utilize our Information Officers to provide the details, or if they are not available, an IC will do a well written Press Release, not ad hoc interviews..

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Thank you. That’s also VERY informative.

            Down here… it’s hard to tell WHO is setting policy anymore.

            The people with the cameras… or the people trying to do the jobs they are paid and/or elected to do.

          • rocksteady says

            We have had media attempt to stir the pot… Like when we did not renew the contract with the MARS bomber.

            It was professionally done, outlining the limitations of the aircraft, as well as costs etc and the public (most of tehm ) have dropped the subject.

            Most people saw it as the silver bullet of fire fighting, but once we showed the facts about using different aircraft, that were more veratile, more cost effective and could deliver teh same gallons per hour, they decided to hop off the bandwagon.

            Another issue I see in the US is your political system.. In Canada, we have the Prime Minister, he runs teh country, but does not meddle in provicial affairs. Each Province has a premier, who usually does not meddle in fires. You folks have Congressman, Governors etc that all seem to have the power to stir the shit…

            • Bob Powers says

              rocksteady—

              Can you expand on the Fire Shelter decision and direction you are under in Canada?

              Quite a jump from where the US is?????

              • rocksteady says

                The decision was made when, in the US you folks went from a gen 1 to a gen 2 shelter.

                Internationally we were going to be on back order for several years. WE knew that the gen 1 sucked and it was no use in packing.

                Collectively, all provinces decided (through teh CIFFC – Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Coordination centre) that shelters were only needed to be used on jurisdictions where they were mandatory. None of our provinces went that route, they all agreed shelters were not the answer.

                Other factors were the price, they were outrageous, as well, In Canada we had very little historical use of fire shelters ever having to be deployed. We were already practicing avoidance.

                A briefing note was done from CIFFC, that fire shelters were no longer required in Canada and that the savings would be put into avoidance training. We spent many many hours/days training everyone for situations that shouted WATCH OUT…. (You guys have that too, but some people take it as “guidance” rather than a rule… No offense intended)

                We also put more money into upgrading our weather station technology, so that it was more accurate, we spent money on better software to predict fire behaviour. In BC we hired Meteorologists who worked directly for us, not for their previous employer, Environment Canada. We sent these Mets to fire course, so that they got the jist of why their forecasts are so important.

                We developed safe work directives, like I stated WAY down below, where, when the fire reached a specific criteria, teh crew had to have a lookout and 2 escape routes. Every time we had a “tactical withdrawl” it was investigated by a higher level team to ensure that the right decision was made (no punitive discipline) as well as learn from them, exactly what made the people nervous in this particular case.

                We sent more personnel to the S-590 Fire Behaviour Specialist training, as well as provided them shadow time with fully certified, experienced FBANS.

                Part of the main reason we stopped using, is they found that people had an overconfident of security having it on their belts…. “We can try this tactic, it may not work, but we can jump in our shelters and it will all be good”….

                Since we stopped, I have seen a greater intelligence level of our crew personnel with respect to fire behaviour. Every crew has a Field Weather Kit (Anemometer, sling psychromter, as well as a paper copy of the fire behaviour software tables, in their hands).

                We still will wear shelters when we come to the US for deployments, but thats because it is your policy.

                I guess us laid back Canadains are not as aggressive towards fire fighting as teh US, we would rather run away and try again tomorrow.

                NO OFFFENCE here, but it appears that the US mentaility is like the MArines, charging teh machine gun nest on teh beaches of Iwo Jima…. Us Canucks are too passive for that 🙂

                • Bob Powers says

                  Having spent the first part of my carrier Fighting fire with out a shelter probably forged a different out look on them and Fire we of the early 60’s spent more time staying away from close encounters of the burn over type.

                  When I started in 1961 we were in kaki shirts the Brown ones and Cotton Levies.
                  we got the treated orange shirts in 1964 and Fire retardant paints in 1968 fir shelters depending on funding in 1966 or 1967. I believe we got the Nomax Yellow shirts in 1972 or 73 along with the new Paints.

                  That’s why many of my generation did not put our self in a position of ever having to deploy a shelter.
                  It makes me wonder if Canada is not on to something here. You talk to many of the 60 and 70 Fire fighters and they will tell you they had no trust in the Potato Bakers.

                  Back to old school always bring the black with you trust the black. Indirect line means always build SZ as you build line and keep them close.

                  A SZ a mile away was worthless and no longer a SZ.
                  the 10 and 18 were orders and rules—-PERIOD

                  • rocksteady says

                    Bob Powers, now you are getting it… We did not abandon shelters without a lot of thought, discussion, and foreward thinking. It has served us well, not saying it is the right decision for all agencies…

            • rocksteady says

              For some reason, when I go to the very bottom of the page, to start a new topic , it bogs big time and will not let me type worth a darn.

              SO, I will attempt here to reiterate my previous post which magically dissappeared into cyber pergatory.

              FIRE BEHAVIOUR ANALYST (FBAN)

              Probably one of the most misunderstood positions within and outside the fire organization.

              The FBAN , due to being called a technical specialist, reports to the Plans Section Chief, however most discussion and interaction is with the OPS and IC.

              The FBAN role is to gather intel from many sources (IC/OPS?Meteorologists/ even teh weather network) to predict what the fire beahviour will be for a given operational period.

              The FBAN takes a weather forecast from a Met, ties that into teh software modelling for that fuel type and genrates outputs of what the fire behaviour could be. Rates of spread, fire intensities, fire type (surface vs. crown), anomolies that foreshadow extreme fire behaviour, as well as safety practices that should be instituted based on the prediction (safe zones, direct, indirect, etc)

              All of this information is summed up in a Fire Behaviour Forecast, which is published within the IAP for the incident every day. To show its importance, usually we put it on page 2, right after the incident objectives. The IAP has all of tehinfo, as well we will discuss and answer questions at the morning briefing.

              An FBAn also gathers intel (feedback) from other sources, crews, div sups, air attack, helicopter pilots, etc.

              A typical day in my life as an FBAN, I will start at 18:00 and show you a day. Around 18:00 is when I like to have the weather forecast from teh MET, I take that info and put it into the software, along with other known criteria (fuel moisture content, fuel type, etc) and generate teh FB Forecast. This goes to plans (who does not like to be up all night photocopying) so that it is in the IAP.

              Bunk down for the night around sunset (if fire behaviour is benign), usually up around sun up. Quick call to teh MET to see if the prediction is still valid or if a different weather pattern is now predicted. If its the same, its a green light, its a go. If its a slight change I will rerun teh numbers in the software to see if there is a significant change in forecasted behaviour. If not, let it ride. If there is a significant change, I will notify OPS/IC/Divs suups etc…

              Once that is all done, I like to get out onthe fireline, to observe reral fire behaviour, rahter than just the predicted from a computer. This can either be a heli (preferred) or truck. By making observations and taking measurements, I hcan validate if my forecast is correct, or if I am under/over estimating behaviour. I will do weather readings (rh/wind/temp etc) as well as fuel moisture readings from various areas of teh fire to see if the weather station and weather forecast are representative of ALL areas of the incident.

              Back into the IAP, conversation with teh MET, telling him what I found/saw as compared to teh forecast. Tweeking of teh next weather forecast may or may not be required.

              Take the next forecast, run teh numbers , generate the following days FB forecast and send to Plans.

              Lots of conversations in camp about fire behaviour (cause no one talks about anything else in a fire camp) with div sups, fire fighters, line locaters etc gathering intel as to what they really saw.

              This is my typical day, some FBANs prefer to spend the day in front of the computer looking at satellite loops, infrared moisture, DOppler, etc… I prefer to be on the line. I want to make it clear, most of us do not try to interpret satellite loops and millibar charts, we rely on a MET.

              I will look back at teh days weather readings for the most representative weatehr station to see how it compares to teh MET prediction, as well as look for anomolies in wind speed, direction etc that could be of concern for firefighter safety.

              I look at my job as being a safety officer, specializing in weather and fire behaviour, looking out for fire fighter safety. No one else in teh ICS structure is specifically designated to cover this, so I take it very seriously.

              Yes, I can predict within reason how far and how fast the fire will progress in a certain direction, however to me that is second, behind fire fighter safety. If teh run will take X miles at X rate of speed, who cares? as long as no one is in front of it. Houses can be rebuilt, trees replanted, fire fighters can not be reborn. If I see where a fire will make a run towards structures or other values, I do identify this to OPS and IC, but my main concern is FF safety.

              There ya go, questions?? Fire at will!!!

  22. Marti Reed says

    And another thing I want to say.

    Thank you WTKTT for posting about the legal disputing going on between Arizona Department of Forestry and ADOSH at this time right before/during the Mediation with the families regarding the Wrongful Death Lawsuits.

    I really appreciate it.

    I have been seriously searching for ANY coverage of this whole dance by ANY of the regional mainstream media. And have found NOTHING.

    For The Record.

    • Robert the Second says

      Marti,

      I posted something on your Santiago Fire thread below if you’re interested.

      WARNING: DO NOT GIVE ELIZABETH/LOGICAL PHALLACY YOUR EMAIL BECAUSE SHE WILL USE IT AGAINST YOU. YOU WILL BE SORRY YOU DID BECAUSE SHE WILL DEFINITELY STALK YOU.

      • Marti Reed says

        Thanks! And, yes I saw that. I’m just having to not do a lot of commenting right now, cuz……….stuff to do………

        But I’m READING!

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Marti Reed post on March 3, 2015 at 1:09 am

      >> Marti said…
      >>
      >> I have been seriously searching for ANY coverage of this whole
      >> dance by ANY of the regional mainstream media. And have
      >> found NOTHING.

      The American MEDIA is NOT going to just report that the key witness for a tragedy involving the deaths of 19 firefighters is suddenly admitting he knows more than he EVER told investigators… unless they can ALSO report exactly what the NEW information is.

      And that is ( currently ) problematic.

      It’s very difficult to say whether any transcript from this under-oath testimony that Brendan McDonough just (supposedly) gave will ever see the light of day.

      It MAY become clear in some further updates to online “Arizona Forestry vs. ADOSH” ALJ hearing file whether this McDonough deposition actually DID take place ( or not ), but the actual CONTENT of the deposition could easily remain ‘hidden from view’.

      Maybe forever.

      Arizona Forestry still might fight ANY attempts on ANYONE’s part to obtain a transcript of the interview. They could easily try to say that the CONTENT of that deposition might be as “distrubing to the families of the fallen” as they have already claimed in legal actions over the YCSO FARO-3D photos taken at the deployment site.

      If the families SETTLE the ‘wrongful death’ suits… I am SURE that Arizona Forestry will put ‘stipulations’ in there that some of the information presented during the settlement must NEVER be discussed in public by ANY of the plaintiffs or their families.

      So if there are never any more depositions from Brendan other than the one that (supposedly) just took place for ONLY the ‘Arizona Forestry vs. ADOSH’ proceeding… there is still no guarantee that any ‘Arizona Open Records’ request and/or FOIA/FOIL request will ever be able to obtain a transcript of it.

      We shall see.

      It still (truly) remains a Shakespearean-level tragedy ‘in-progress’.

      “Truth is truth, To the end of reckoning.”
      William Shakespeare — Measure for Measure — Act V, Scene I

      • Marti Reed says

        Thx WTK! Quick note while grabbing pizza slice.

        I’m doing kind of a “here’s looking at YOU AZCentral/AZRepublic!”

        They have done some pretty good “under the hood” reporting regarding the investigations (or lack thereof).

        I think what you say about them waiting until they have some kind of actual NEWs until they report this piece of ‘”under the hood” stuff is probably the explanation.

        Which makes me think they DO have someone “watching” these legal dances going on. And will probably be the FIRST entity to FOIA the proceedings. That’s pretty much been the case all along.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Marti Reed post on March 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm

          >> Marti said…
          >>
          >> Which makes me think they DO have someone “watching” these
          >> legal dances going on.

          Of course they do. They ( themselves ) would be ‘negligent’ in their own duties and responsibilities if they were NOT doing that.

          >> Marti also said…
          >>
          >> And will probably be the FIRST entity to FOIA the proceedings.

          If you are talking about the Prescott Daily Courier… I’m not so sure about that. A lot of local politics going on there. It’s a SMALL TOWN with a SMALL TOWN mentality and all the usual ‘good old boy’ networking going on.

          I’d be more inclined to think the Phoenix MSM might be the first to really go after the material. They have the same vested interests but not the same small-town good-old-boy networking going on.

          We shall see.

          This entire ‘Shakespearean’ level drama has become just as much about whether the MEDIA is ‘doing the right thing’ as it has always been about whether the agencies that send men out fight fires is ‘doing the right thing’ following such a tragic ( and perhaps easily avoidable in the future ) incident.

  23. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
    **
    ** ACTUAL TRANSCRIPTS OF WHAT U.S. FORESTRY ON-SALARY
    ** METEOROLOGIST DR. BRIAN POTTER SAID ( AND DID NOT SAY )
    ** ABOUT THE YARNELL HILL FIRE IN HIS FEB/2015 WEBINAR.

    A lot of ‘real estate’ got burned up the other day on this topic so I thought I would just show everyone what this U.S. Forestry on-salary Meteorologist guy ( Dr. Brian Potter ) ACTUALLY said about the Yarnell Hill Fire in that recent WEBINAR of his at the Wildland Firefighter’s Lessons Learned website.

    Actually… it’s more what he did NOT say ( or would admit to ) that matters here.

    >> On March 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm, Elizabeth ( counselor ) said…
    >>
    >> Fred/RTS suggested below that the way to figure out if a dangerous downburst
    >> is likely to arrive is to wait and see if you get virga.

    >> On March 1, 2015 at 2:30 pm, WTKTT responded…
    >>
    >> He (RTS) said no such thing.
    >>
    >> YOU are the one putting the word ‘virga’. into his mouth… which is just a continual
    >> demonstration that you don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about on
    >> this topic nor do you have the skills/ability to really understand it.
    >>
    >> VIRGA is rain that EVAPORATES before reaching the ground.
    >>
    >> If you are standing on the ground ‘feeling raindrops’… then it is NOT VIRGA.

    The firefighters in Harper Canyon FELT raindrops. ACTUAL raindrops.

    That was their WARNING and Captain Darby Starr himself said that was what convinced HIM they all needed to do a full retreat from Harper Canyon.

    That means it was NOT VIRGA and ( consequently ) does NOT meet even Dr. Brian Potter’s own definition of conditions necessary for ‘downburst potential’, as stated in his own WEBINAR.

    >> On March 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm, Elizabeth (counselor) responded…
    >>
    >> Thanks for your correction. Fred Schoeffler aka Robert the Second
    >> did not say virga. Dr. Brian Potter did.

    And so he ( Potter ) did… at exactly +27:25 in this same ‘webinar’ that you have led on us on your wild goose chase through already.

    It seems pretty obvious that wasn’t just a ‘Brain Fart’ and you were TRYING to put that word VIRGA into ( someone’s? / anyone’s? ) mouth… perhaps because it would have supported YOUR ‘agenda’ and other ‘statements’ in Potter’s ‘webinar’… but that is neither here nor there, really.

    Let’s just look at what this Potter guy ACTUALLY said ( or didn’t say ) regarding Yarnell…

    * Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center – WEBINARS – February / 2015

    Column / Plume Dynamics
    Synthesis of Knowledge of Extreme Fire Behavior
    Brian Potter
    Research Meteorologist
    Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab
    USDA Forest Service

    This ‘webinar’ was 1 hour and 15 minutes and 16 seconds long and the recording is HERE…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=552Spr6Rhbo&feature=youtu.be

    To set the record straight… U.S. Forestry on-salary Meteorologist Dr. Brian Potter DID mention ‘Yarnell’ during this webinar… but only ONE time… and in passing… and with some pretty serious CAVEATS implied.

    Here is the SLIDE that was on the screen when he mentioned ‘Yarnell’ just that ONE time… and the actual transcript of everything he said while that SLIDE was showing…

    ————————————————————————————-
    +34:50
    Slide being shown: Summary – Plumes and EFB ( Extreme Fire Behavior )
    Text showing on this slide…
    – Plume vs. Wind: theoretical and unproven in the field
    – Adverse Wind Profiles: not well supported, but heavily used.
    – Instability: connection is there, but just how it manifests is unclear.
    – Downbursts: definite killers
    – Plume Collapse: dangerous terminology

    Potter: So… in summary then… plumes and extreme fire behavior (EFB)

    Plume domination versus wind driven.
    It’s a… scientifically it’s a theoretical concept and a… and a theoretical set of equations but they are unproven and difficult to prove in the field.

    Adverse wind profiles are not well supported by the evidence and the cases where they have been looked at after their original publication, and yet the term and the idea are heavily referenced.

    Instability? There is a connection there between instability and fire behavior. It… it… is known to tie to… to turbulence at the very least but just how the instability manifests to affect the fire is a bit unclear. I would somewhat argue VERY unclear.

    Downbursts? Downbursts are definitely killers. Uhm… Dude Fire. Yarnell Hill is attributed to downburst activity. Uh… I don’t remember the name but there was a fire in Florida where a downburst from a thunderstorm quite a distance away, the outflow pushed the fire flank and fanned it up, and killed some firefighters.

    Plume collapse? I consider plume collapse to be dangerous terminology because it evokes such a strong image and yet it is not quite what would be worrisome about fire behavior.

    So what I just described is basically, sounds like I’m throwing all of this out the window in terms of what it can do for you in fire behavior, but I’m not.
    ————————————————————————————-

    So first we hear Potter say this…

    * Downbursts are definitely killers.

    Then he presumes to cite THREE examples…

    * EXAMPLE 1
    * “Uhm… Dude Fire.”

    See below. He calls this the ONE and ONLY documented case as per a 1998 study.

    * EXAMPLE 2
    * “Yarnell Hill is attributed to downburst activity.”

    That’s all he says… and he ONLY uses the word ‘attributed’.

    He gives absolutely NO indication where he is even ‘getting that’ from ( which official study? ) or if he even really ‘ascribes’ to the theory himself.

    “Attributed” in this context just means “Maybe it happened. Maybe it didn’t. Some people seem to think it *might* have… but I’m not saying I am one of them”.

    Actually… see below where he admits this is in NO WAY DOCUMENTED yet, by anyone.

    * EXAMPLE 3
    * “Uh… I don’t remember the name but there was a fire in Florida where a downburst
    * from a thunderstorm quite a distance away, the outflow pushed the fire flank and
    * fanned it up, and killed some firefighters.”

    Pay close attention to this THIRD possible example HE is citing for what HE calls things that meet his OWN (personal) definition “downburst related fatalities”.

    Not only can this distinguished on-salary U.S. Forestry Meteorologist not even remember the NAME of the frickin’ fire he is using as one of how OWN ‘examples’… his own description of what happened in no way resembles his OWN definition of a ‘downburst’ and you could actually just substitute the word “Yarnell” for “Florida” in that paragraph and have the same description of what happened on June 30, 2013 as appeared already in the original Yarnell SAIR report.

    Potter’s third example of a ‘downburst fatality’ is actually just a description of EXACTLY what is ALREADY KNOWN to have happened in Yarnell.

    No ‘news’ there at all.

    There was a STRONG OUTFLOW from a thunderstorm “quite a distance away” from Yarnell itself ( caused by one or more REMOTE, not LOCAL downdraft/downburst event(s) ).

    This STRONG OUTFLOW BOUNDARY was totally predicted and totally known to be coming towards Yarnell. Winds up to 50 mph PREDICTED. FBAN Byron Kimball made the announcement over TAC channel 1 as early as 1530 ( 3:30 PM ) in Yarnell.

    It arrived ( exactly as predicted ) and ( just as Potter describes ) (quote) “the OUTFLOW PUSHED the FIRE FLANK, and FANNED IT UP, and KILLED SOME FIREFIGHTERS”.

    As it turns out… even though the above is the only time this Potter guy mentions Yarnell by name… he came CLOSE to mentioning it about SEVEN minutes earlier in his presentation.

    He had a SLIDE to show about the ‘Dude’ fire… and that is where we hear this US Forestry Meteorologist admit that the Dude fire is still considered the ONLY DOCUMENTED case where his own definition of ‘downbursts’ could have resulted in fatalities on a fire.

    He does try to ‘suggest’, however, that some OTHER cases MIGHT someday ( PERHAPS ) be DOCUMENTED as such and be included in the category… but that day has NOT arrived yet.

    ————————————————————————————–
    +27:52
    Next slide shown: Dude Fire

    Potter: The ONE case that was DOCUMENTED with a downburst leading to fatalities… well… I shouldn’t say that actually because we now have more than one case where we believe that downbursts were involved in fatalities… unfortunately we have a fair number. This was the first one, though. It was the Dude Fire in June, 1990, near Payson, Arizona, and it was documented by Goens and Andrews in a 1998 paper.
    —————————————————————————————-

    So right after Potter says the “Dude” fire is STILL the FIRST and ONLY DOCUMENTED case… he then says…

    “We now have more than ONE case where we BELIEVE that downbursts were involved in fatalities”.

    Keyword: BELIEVE ( as in… we are NOT SURE ).

    So even here, at +27:52 into his presentation, Dr. Potter is speaking for both himself and (seemingly) his entire ‘fire-behavior analysis’ profession and is NOT ready to admit that HIS definition of a ‘downburst’ is either DOCUMENTED yet with regards to Yarnell… OR was actually even involved in the Yarnell Hill Fire at all.

    He ( and others ) seem to SUSPECT that might have happened… but obviously there isn’t enough proof one way or the other to say for sure and certain that was the case… OR enough proof to start speaking the name ‘Yarnell’ in the same breath as the ‘Dude’ fire.

    So SEVEN minutes later… when he DID finally mention “Yarnell” ( by name ) and ONLY used the word “attributed”… he was just reflecting this earlier opinion he expressed at +27:52.

    So this is all any lawyer would get out this Dr. Potter guy if he were to be called as some kind of ‘expert witness’. regarding the Yarnell Hill Fire.

    Someone who THINKS that MAYBE Yarnell MIGHT, PERHAPS, SOMEDAY be actually added to the list of fires that had ‘downburst/downdraft event’ related fatalities… and actually officially DOCUMENTED that way in meteorological circles as an equivalent of the “Dude” fire…

    …but that day has NOT arrived… not even in HIS ‘fire behavior study’ circles…

    and maybe never will.

    NOTE: This Potter guy’s ‘presentation’ part of the WEBINAR was only 39 minutes long and the rest of the WEBINAR was a 36 minute Q/A session.

    Not ONCE during that 36 minute Q/A session did anyone mention Yarnell or ask this Potter guy any questions about it.

    • Marti Reed says

      Thanks for the wrap!!!

      I had actually signed up for this webinar, but, as they say, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” and I didn’t have time to even watch it until this morning, before I read what you had to say, so I could hear it first hand. And I WILL re-watch it. Because I want to learn, not push my own agenda.

      Apparently, it took eight years to “finish” analyzing the Dude Fire. Yarnell Hill MIGHT happen QUICKER. I can’t wait to see what they actually come up with.

      “Not ONCE during that 36 minute Q/A session did anyone mention Yarnell or ask this Potter guy any questions about it.”

      Including the real Fred. Apparently he’s smart enough to realize it’s too soon for anything DEFINITIVE to be said about it.

      I hope this also, however, puts to rest some of the DUALISTIC THINKING that goes on here about fire-weather behavior.

      I decided to quit writing about that, because I’ve done it ad nauseum and, apparently, the chief dualistic thinker here hasn’t chosen to learn anything from that. From either myself or Brian Potter.

      Great webinar, though.

      My two biggest takeaways:

      There’s no firewall between plume-dominated and wind-dominated. They’re two parts of a dynamic system. That’s what I was seeing, and trying to articulate, and it helped to hear him talk about that.

      And…….. Columns don’t “collapse” even though humans keep using that terminology. What we see in Yarnell is not a “column collapse.” I did not know that.

      However, he DID say, “Downbursts require a strong, tilted column.” We DO see that, in spades, at the time before, during, and after the deployment. Plus that rotation.

      Thus, at this point, I would be willing to bet serious money, that, when the bridge finally gets crossed, Yarnell will end up in that collection that started with the analysis of the Dude Fire..

      But I’m still a STUDENT, not a MASTER, of fire-weather behavior. So I’m ALWAYS willing to be proven wrong.

      Again, thanks for this write-up.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Yes… it’s perfectly obvious this particular US Forestry Meteorologist wishes the phrases ‘plume dominated fire’ and ‘plume collapse’ had NEVER been introduced into the terminology at all. In his opinion… NOT really as big a factor as ANYONE ever likes to think NOR ever that big an ‘influence’ on what the fire is DOING RIGHT NOW or can be EXPECTED TO DO… which is the most important thing for professional FFs on the GROUND to understand.

        There are OTHER things that will kill you just as dead if you don’t recognize the ‘signs’ before it happens.

        Speaking of ‘things that will kill you just as dead if you don’t recognize the potential staring you in the face’…

        …he DOES talk a bit about SPOTTING… and all the LEVELS of it that can exist.

        His points about MID-LEVEL spotting and how important it is to recognize when THAT phenomena is taking place ( and get the HELL out of the way ) were short but informative.

        MID-LEVEL spotting conditions is the stuff that can throw the fire right in your direction even if you THINK you are a ‘safe distance’ from the fire or you have TIME to ‘cut in front of it’, or something.

        There is every indication this MID-LEVEL spotting was ALREADY fully active in Yarnell BEFORE Granite Mountain ever took one step off that high-ridge two-track.

        Even Gary Cordes testified that before/during the ‘trigger points’ being met… the fire WAS ‘spotting’ up to a HALF-MILE ahead of itself.

        There could still be every chance a full ( real ) investigation of this fire will prove it was this very MID-LEVEL intense spotting that ultimately killed those men in that box canyon.

        But to say it was ‘unexpected’ would still be absurd.

        ANY column like that is GOING to be doing that… and to not KNOW that and stay WELL out of the way is to not know your own business.

        • Elizabeth says

          You said “ANY column like that is GOING to be doing that… and to not KNOW that and stay WELL out of the way is to not know your own business.”

          How far is “WELL out of the way”? Seriously. How far? 1000 feet? 4000 feet? Four miles?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Go research MID-LEVEL ( and even UPPER-LEVEL ) spotting… and then get back to me if you still feel you have any questions.

    • Elizabeth says

      You emphasize above the fact that Potter is a USFS employee. My impression is that the USDA has made clear to the USFS employees to keep their traps largely shut about Yarnell. Plus, folks with terminal degrees who do credible research tend not to talk out their assholes. Therefore, if Potter said something about a downburst and Yarnell, I tend to think that (a) he had a basis for saying it and (b) he felt strongly enough that it merited saying that he was willing to risk the ire of the USFS.

      Marti, you mentioned that you finally watched Potter’s webinar – good for you. You would be well served to also watch Brett Butler’s webinar. Pay particular attention to Larry Sutton’s questions at the end of the webinar. He hits on the point I keep trying to make here. To that end, Volumes I or II of the Extreme Fire Behavior compendium that Potter referenced are both good reads. 🙂 Hope this helps.

      • Bob Powers says

        And then their are people who tend to always talk out their ASSHOLES.
        As in the above Councilor———-.

      • Marti Reed says

        You said:

        “…Brett Butler’s webinar. Pay particular attention to Larry Sutton’s questions at the end of the webinar. He hits on the point I keep trying to make here.”

        Exactly which point does Larry Sutton hit on that you keep trying to make here?

        • Elizabeth says

          He asks questions or makes his comments at roughly 1:04-ish into the webinar. Should be self-explanatory.

          • Elizabeth says

            Marti – just went back and re-listened. Larry’s comment about the inability (at present) to reliably and narrowly predict “worst case fire behavior” and his later comment/question at 1:11 into the webinar: Presumably Larry is making a point to Dr. Butler about where more and better research is needed, no?

          • Elizabeth says

            I take it you didn’t get the relevance of Larry Sutton’s comments/questions and how they support my points about the nascent state of fire science (particularly regarding extreme fire behavior)?

  24. rocksteady says

    WTF????

    Wrote up a huge detailed post about the FBAN position, how we do what we do, what resources we use..

    Hit teh post comment button and it said “Awaiting moderators approval”

    Hope it gets posted cause I can remember all of the things I wrote..

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      If it wasn’t because it had more than 1 ‘hyperlink’ in the message ( email addresses also count as links )… then the most likely reason would be just 1 mis-placed or mis-typed character in either the NAME or EMAIL address being used to post the message.

      I’ve done this myself more than a few times.

      The message usually appears within a reasonable amount of time.

        • Marti Reed says

          I’ve been having trouble posting today, too. Even with being careful.

          Pro-tip: even tho it’s a huge hassle, copy your post before posting it. Then you can at least try again without having to re-write it.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Update to rocksteady and Marti ( since you have both discovered the same problem ).

          Bottom line is that the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned webpages are screwed up. If you RIGHT CLICK those PDF files they keep listing on their pages and do a ‘Copy Link Location’… the URL that gets copied to your clipboard is improperly ‘escaped’ and WordPress will CHOKE on it and toss your message.

          Their server also isn’t setting the MIME type right for those PDF files.

          Best bet at this ‘Lessons Learned’ site is to ONLY post the URL to the pages that have the links to the PDF files… and then let someone just go to that page in their Browser and click the link themselves.

          Browsers are better able to handle these kind of ‘messed up’ URLs than WordPress is.

  25. rocksteady says

    So we have been talking quite a bit about the role of the FBAN (Fire Behaviour Analyst).

    It is not a well known or understood position. The FBAN falls under the Plans Section Chief portfolio, as FBANs are designated as “Technical Specialists”. However, on day to day duties, they spend a lot of time interacting with OPS and IC in an advisement capacity.

    The role, as basic as I can say it, is that the FBAN gathers intel from MEteorologists, other waether sources (yes, even the Weather Channel), from fireline staff making behaviour observations on the line, and takes all of this intel and creates a fire behaviour advisory for the incident.

    It is a prediction of what the fire behaviour, rate of spread and intensities COULD look like for the following operational period. We do not interpret weather data, like satellite loops etc, that should all be covered by the Meteorologist.

    Here is a day in the life of me, as an FBAN. Starting around 18:00, because plans wants all of their advisories in at a decent hour so that they can produce the IAP (Incident Action Plan) for the morning briefing. I will gather a spot weather forecast from the local meteorologist, usually it describes predicted wind, temperature, relative humidty, probability of precipitation (and possible amounts), as well as any other potential weatehr events (lightning, wind, thunder cells, ).

    I then take this information from the MET and run it through a software program that takes the weather info and ties it to identified fuel types, with outputs of rate of spread, intensity and fire type(ground versus crown fire). This information is all compiled into the Fire Behaviour Advisory, which is in the IAP, as well as discussed at the morning briefing.

    I then bunk down for the night. Up at whatever time I need to be in order to have a buffer before the morning briefing and start of operational period. I get on the computer, look at overnight data from weather stations, looking for trends or anomolies which could be important during the day. Usually that is followed up by a phone call to the MET to confirm the prediction for weather the night before, is still valid for this morning and day. If there is changes, I rerun the software, to see what difference it may make in fire behaviour. If it is not significant in change, I usually just let it ride.
    I then usually have discussions with OPS and IC as to what the day will bring, as well as talk to them about the tactics they plan to use (direct/indirect, etc) and the chances of success for that tactic. This is where tehre would be very frank discussions about what could happen if a thundercell moved in like Yarnell. I would have the modelling based on the intense winds, projecting how fast the fire will travel, as well as direction and fire behaviour. This is where OPS and IC are informed of any significant predictions that could cause the fire to go ballistic. At this point the IC and OPS should be discussing the trigger points for evac, valuesa t risk, where to position resources, what other reources may be required (Ie. airtankers or seats)

    Then after confirming that the upper ICS command has a good understanding of the day, I usually head to the fireline. Sometimes by air, other times by ground vehicle.
    When I am out there I observe the fire behaviour (flame length, flame height, rates of spread, fuel types etc) Using my various field tools, I take weather , wind, relative humidities, fuel moisture content readings etc to confirm that the weather station data and weather forecast from the MET are accurate or possibly off by a few digits.

    I like to stay in the field during the peak of the burning period, so if it goes squirrelly, I can make first hand observations as to what the fire is doing. I will have numerous conversaations with the MET during the day, excahnging intel. Near 18:00 I head back to the IAP, where hopefully my MET forecast for the next day is waiting for me, run the software, issue the FBAdvisory and repeat for the next 14 days if need be.

    THIS IS HOW I ROLL!!!! Not all FBANs follow this type of schedule. Fire BEhaviour is an art and a science, some personeel like to be more in tune with the science (weather readings, sattelite loops, wind tepigrams from airport weather stations), other sprefer to be in the field observing real time fire… That is me.

    Some times an FBAN has to be silent and let things play out, other times be very vocal when something bad is looming. I take my role as an FBAN similar to a safety officer, I predict what can hurt the crews, give them advice as to how to stay safe, as I am the only one on the incident with the sole duty of fire behaviour. I act as their safety officer, specializing in fire behaviour and fuels analysis.

    I hope this gives you some insight as to the role and responsibility of a FBAN on a typical fire complex.

  26. Bob Powers says

    One thing that I never got to yesterday that I wanted to input here.
    Hot shot Crews and Overtime.
    First there are now over 100 Hot shot crews compared to 50 in my time.
    While true there are as many less contract crews as back in the 80’s so a trade off of funded trained Type 1 crews and less type 2 crews today.

    Talking with My Sawtooth Hot Shots this year a new hours worked was added to there Overtime.
    They are required to take forced comp time off in a Pay period if their overtime is over 20 hours
    and there is work time left in the Pay period. So the crews are not making tie Over time they use to.
    A lot of this is due to the new funding of fires with regular designated funding. this also adds to their non paid forced days off in a 14 day work period. and cutting shifts to 12 hours.

    So to say the crews take assignments to get more over time is no longer the case. The Federal government has found ways to limit over time.

    With less type 2 crews the feds are also turning to the Military for Fire Fighters in the past 20 years.

    To confuse you further there are other pay things a fire fighter gets on top of time and a half over 8 hrs. hazard pay 25% till the fire is controlled, Sunday Differential for scheduled Sundays worked 25%, double time on holidays. Just a note most fire people are scheduled to work on Sundays and so many get the differential unless you are on forced days off or comp time it is a work related pay.

    So sorry if you think a Fire Fighter makes a lot of money any more– its good but it ant like it use to be—————

    • Bob Powers says

      Which brings up the question how was the GM grew being paid?
      we know they were a contracted crew.
      Were they being paid by the city the same as a federal employee / crew?

      I do not believe we ever did a complete breakdown on that.

      AD employees and crews are paid a flat rate no matter how many hours they work.
      called pick up fire fighters under different pay scales.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Bob Powers post on March 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm

        >> Bob Powers asked…
        >>
        >> Were they being paid by the city the same as a federal employee / crew?

        Not really. Slightly LESS.

        The MSM ( Mainstream Media ) was ( obviously ) sort of ‘all over this’ end of things following the incident and there are a number of articles about it.

        The numbers I’m quoting are from the following Prescott Daily Courier article…

        The Prescott Daily Courier
        Article Title: Hotshots earned, cost city millions: Payouts from fighting fires in other states helped offset operating costs.
        8/31/2013 – By Cindy Barks
        http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=122741

        The AVERAGE hourly pay rate ( to the men themselves ) was about $12 per hour regular time, and $20 per hour for overtime. Management and Crew bosses made slightly more ( $14 to $17 per hour ) and the bottom level crewmen slightly less ( $10 per hour ).

        The City of Prescott was able to charge other agencies $39.95 per hour for each crewmember when they were ‘jobbed out’ to fires.

        The PROBLEM with Granite Mountain, though, is that being owned/operated by a municipality they had their ‘feet in the fire’ ( so to speak ) with the bean-counters and penny-pinchers moreso than other Federal/State/Districty operated Type 1 IHC organizations.

        On paper… Granite Mountain was costing the City a lot of money.
        On paper… Their income’ was never actually covering their expenses

        The closest they came to even just ‘breaking even’ was 2011 but they were still $6,975 dollars ‘short’ that year.

        Shortages from other years ranged between $98,664 (2007) to $206,460 (2009), and in 2012 the ‘loss’ to the City of Prescott clocked in at $62,253.

        On a certain level this is all just ‘funny money’ since we are talking about ‘agency reimbursements’ and whatnot and there are also ‘grants’ involved in a given year, so some people ( like Darrell Willis himself ) have always been contesting the assumption that GM was ‘losing money’ every year.

        According to Willis… GM was ‘on track’ for a GOOD year in 2013.

        The actual reimbursements for the past fiscal year, according to Wildland Division Chief Darrell Willis: $1,590,415. Based on the $1,349,859 in expected expenses, the actual revenue numbers would put the Hotshots about $240,000 in the black for 2013… if things had continued going along the way they were.

        Regardless… there was the PERCEPTION on the part of the City of Prescott bean-counters and penny-pinchers that GM was ‘costing’ the City a loto of money…. and there was no doubt there was a lot of PRESSURE coming from the City of Prescott for Granite Mountain to ‘make money’.. or at LEAST try to ‘break even’ at alll times and not be COSTING the City a lot of money each year.

        As far as Sunday, June 30, 2013 goes… even Darrell Willis has stated to the MSM that his own (supposed) last conversation with Eric Marsh at 6:00 AM on Sunday morning contained some information from Marsh that the (quote) “men were excited to be working their day off so they could make some good overtime money”.

        I still don’t think for one moment that was any REAL kind of motivational factor that day. Most of the men didn’t MIND making that $20 per hour rate for once… but they also could have ‘taken it or left it’ and wouldn’t have been upset if Marsh hadn’t taken the work assignment that day.

        They were TIRED… and in need of REST… and it was a SUNDAY.

        I also still don’t think anything can be read into the fact that Brendan McDonough himself should probably have NOT been put on the roster that day and because he was… this might mean Marsh was ‘desperate’ to get the contract.

        Brendan was still not fully well… and I think the evidence shows that the heat was getting to him in Yarnell that day which probably has more to do with why he was picked as ‘lookout’ than anything else. He just wasn’t feeling well that day.

        But I believe it’s also always been established that GM had ‘alternates’ they could turn to if they had to. So even if Brendan was declared “still not fit for duty” that Sunday… I think Marsh could have just tapped any one of these ‘alternates’ to take his place and still would have accepted the contract for Yarnell.

        • Marti Reed says

          Call me cynical. But.

          In my humble opinion, the Granite Mountain Hotshots were getting screwed by the City of Prescott big time.

          Do you think I am mistaken by assuming those various financial equations you have described conveniently erase all the fuels mitigation they were doing off-season? And maybe, just possibly maybe, that’s why those calculations just conveniently don’t include that “asset” the GM Hotshots were providing as part of the reason the crew was, according to the City, consistently operating in “the red”?

          I believe that to be the case, and, as I DO read the comments (as painful as that can be) in every related Daily Courier article, I see that “erasure” all the time.

          It would be interesting (and a lot more fair and educational) to see a cost/benefit analysis of all of those “reds vs blacks” that actually includes an honest valuation of the work they were doing for the City of Prescott (which was, at least partially being funded by some of those grants), something I have YET to see anybody, including the Daily Courier publish.

          • Retired with 38 says

            Marti,
            Not cynical but right on. The program provided a benefit to the community during their “non fire” time. That is where the cost to the district would come in. Seems like a reasonable cost to take a proactive approach to reducing the fire threat to your community and having a trained type 1 crew a available.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Copy that… but see the sort of “reader’s digest” version just below of what was going down in Prescott.

              The question actually DID come onto the table ( after some supposed 5 and 6 figure shortfalls showed up ) of what BENEFIT this whole “Type 1 IHC” thing really was for the City of Prescott itself.

              What City Officials had NOT realized about HOSTING a Type 1 Hotshot operation is that they are now, in fact, a NATIONAL Resource and not just your own little local ‘Hotshots’ anymore.

              There WERE many times during the fire seasion when Granite Mountain wasn’t even THERE ( not even in Arizona ).

              Some bean-counters in Prescott started looking ‘sideways’ at that ( especially as the operating expenses rose above the multi-million dollar mark ) and really started making noises about “What good is this doing for US? ( The City of Prescott )”.

              The whole off-season-clear-stuff-away-from-houses stuff where it all began just started getting lost in the noise and multi-million dollar operating expenses.

              • Bob Powers says

                Some of the Funding for crews on a yearly basis causes a lot of additional dollars not planed on.

                Training
                Equipment new and replacement costs.
                Trucks/trailers/utv’s,
                The fire money would not have been sufficient for these reoccurring charges and original costs.
                They also had year around employees that had to be financed out side Fire suppression.

                It dose not surprise me they were overspending.

                I don’t know what a Hot Shot budgeted yearly cost is today
                but it was really high back when I worked and they have increased the pay grades science then as well as Full and PT appointments.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            The ‘financial aspects’ of this entire ‘Municipally based’ Type 1 Hotshot operation ( that started OUT as just a simple ‘Fuels Abatement’ project ) are pretty complicated and there is ( still ) a lot of conflicting information flying around about it.

            But I believe the ‘laymans’ version of the story goes something like…

            1) The only way it all got started ( the simple fuels abatement project ) in the first place was because some Federal grant money showed up. The City of Prescott itself was never really ‘onboard’ with the idea of totally funding such a project all by itself.

            2) Things were OK for a while… but then the grant money dried up.

            3) Rather than disband… Duane Steinbring and Eric Marsh conceived the plan to try and make the whole operation ‘pay for itself’ by becoming a Type 2 crew that could ‘job out’ and make its own money.

            4) They sold that idea to the City of Prescott… but the implied PROMISE was that it would, in fact, be at least a ‘break even’ operation.

            5) They weren’t making enough money at the Type 2 level so it was decided to try and ‘ramp up’ and reach the ‘Type 1’ level. That wasn’t all about the money… it was also the DREAM of some people already involved ( Marsh, Steinbrink, etc. ).

            6) They achieved the Type 1 Status.

            7) Not long after that… as they were now away from Prescott all the time ‘making money’ on National level fires… the City of Prescott started seeing the greater expenditures and budget ( +millions dollars ) and it really fell onto the ‘bean counters’ radar. Also… someone on the City level started scratching their head and asking the question “If these guys are GONE for most of the fire season… then what is the good of us maintaining this outfit? What GOOD is that doing for Prescott?

            8) This all turned into some pretty close ‘scrutiny’ of the whole operation and when some years produced 5 and 6 figure shortfalls between actual ‘expenditures’ versus actual ‘income’… the City bean-counters naturally started asking more “What good is this doing us?” questions.

            What I think I’m trying to say is that somewhere along the way ( as the budgets/salaries/equipment/etc. ) crossed the multi-million dollar mark for what was started out as just basically a glorified landscaping operation… the whole “Fuel Abatement” benefits just got lost in the noise and just wasn’t even being factored into the equation anymore.

            All the bean-counters saw was a multi-million dollar budget to support an operation that wasn’t even near Prescott for a lot of the year… but Prescott still had to end up ‘footing the bill’ for any shortfalls between expenditures and income.

            That’s what happens when a CITY ends up sponsoring a NATIONAL level resource.

            At some point… someone says… “If these guys aren’t even HERE for most of the fire season… then what GOOD is that doing for US”?

            It was a ‘fine political line’ that Darrell Willis and Eric Marsh had to walk.

            They had to stay ‘good enough’ and ‘certified enough’ to go out on the National level stuff and make the high dollars… but still try to be around Prescott enough to make the City think the whole thing was doing something for PRESCOTT, too.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              HUGE CAVEAT for the post above.

              That really is just sort of a “Reader’s Digest” version of what was going down.

              It’s actually MUCH more complicated than that.

              Example: Even though the City of Prescott was ( supposedly ) able to ‘bill’ for $39.95 per hour for every hour GM worked… there are still conflicting reports about where THAT money was actually going. Some MSM articles quote Prescott officials as saying that $39.95 per hour bill rate wasn’t even covering the City’s costs for each of the FFs when you added up all the FICA and SS and Worker’s Compensation Insurance, yada, yada, yada.

              At the same time… just taking all the billable hours and whacking away at a calculator at $39.95 per hour was telling others that it SHOULD have been a ‘money making operation’.

              So yea… it’s complicated.

              I think it came down to what ‘set of books’ were being looked at.

              GM’s set of books was telling one story… but people on the City side said THEIR ‘set of books’ was telling them something else.

              • Retired with 38 says

                I absolutely understand the politics. Behind managing a program like this. I hada very similar program with two type 2 IA crews ( three for several years), and e dry budget cycle the program would be scrutinized for the “cost” to the district. Basically told that the program had to be break even with. no cost to the district, even though the district benefitted from the resource. I totally understand the struggles the program experienced with the bean counters!

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  In Darrell Willis’ second interview with ADOSH he got into a lot of the ‘organizational’ and ‘financial’ issues with Granite Mountain, and even explains the PRESSURE he and Eric Marsh felt they were under.

                  This is where Willis’ confirmed to ADOSH that the entire Granite Mountain operation WAS being run by the City under a ‘cost-effective’ business model and they DID have to basically constantly show that monies earned could offset expenditures.

                  The ‘summertime’ ( fire season ) revenue DID have to offset the costs for the wintertime ‘Fuel abatement’ projects(s).

                  From Darrell Willis’ second ADOSH interview
                  on October 10, 2013

                  Q2 = Marshal Krotenber, Lead ADOSH investigator.
                  A = Darrell Willis, Prescott Wildland Division Chief
                  ——————————————————–
                  1609 A: So to bring this new culture of wildland firefighting in, it would – you gotta kinda – I was – I came from the – from the suppression side to the wildland side. So I could – I was accepted on the other side. And I was trying to help Eric become accepted in the culture on the fire department side. Um, and – and it’s pretty – it’s pretty s- uh, different because our program is a cost recovery program and a grant-driven program.

                  Cost-recovery meaning that we’ve built this model that when we do firefighting in the summertime, it kinda offsets some of the costs that we have in the wintertime.

                  And so it’s important to have that there. But the – it’s more the financing of the – the system, understanding that and helping explain that to fire department and city officials.
                  ———————————————————

                  The following is now the point in the interview where ADOSH lead investigator Marshall Krotenberg was going over the controversey whereby Granite Mountain was claiming a certain number of ‘full time’ personnel to keep their Type 1 status… but the City of Prescott had already reduced some of those full-time positions ( on their set of books ) to ‘seasonal with no benefits’.

                  Willis basically explains that this WAS a huge point of consternation between he and Marsh… but that it was all part of the ‘politics’ and part of that ‘fine line’ they had to walk between trying to be hosted by a bean-counting Municipality and doing what was necessary to KEEP the Type 1 status so they could make the ‘high dollars’ during the fire season and maintain their ‘cost-effective’ business model throughout the full year.

                  This is also where Willis admits that they HAD heard rumors that the City of Prescott was lookinig at trashing the whole ‘Type 1 IHC Hotshot’ thing… and they ( and the program ) were being ‘watched’ very closely, right up until the day of the tragedy on June 30, 2013…

                  There WAS a lot of PRESSURE there on Eric Marsh.

                  From Darrell Willis’ second ADOSH interview
                  on October 10, 2013

                  Q2 = Marshal Krotenber, Lead ADOSH investigator
                  A = Darrell Willis, Prescott Wildland Division Chief
                  ——————————————————–
                  1695 Q2: Right. So it sounds like, I mean, if I can just – at least as far as that last part goes, there was a – sort of a – it was a – a bigger planning and budgeting issue that affected that group and how…

                  A: Right.

                  Q2: …many positions were full time versus seasonal and…

                  A: Mm-hm.

                  Q2: …trying to meet that – that number to – to qualify so that you can obtain the revenue during the summer. Can you continue that plan, that business plan?

                  A: Well, that…and the financial downturn. And you gotta take this even into the whole City governance at the time and what’s happening today. There were quote “rumors,” and there were – that they were gonna try – that they, City Hall, was gonna try to get rid of the wildland crew, that we didn’t need it, that it wasn’t, um, cost effective. They actually did an audit in April of this year, found that it was okay. But you as an employee, everybody as an employee, when you hear these things happening, you’re just like, “They’re trying to get rid of us. They’re trying to get rid of us. They don’t understand this.” And so that’s kinda what was – what was going on.
                  ——————————————————

      • Marti Reed says

        Ok this is the THIRD time I’ve posted this comment, after twice watching it disappear into some kind of black hole on this website. My log-in settings have been the same all day.

        Apparently, links to the pages on the Lessons Learned site are screwing things up here big time and I don’t know why. So, anyway I’ll post what I’m trying to link to AGAIN and try to figure out how to post the link on another comment. Here goes:

        So this is the SECOND TIME I have had to re-post something today, and my log-in settings haven’t changed all day. Grrr. Anyway.

        Travis Dotson, the Fire Management Specialist at the , Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center, wrote an honest and, I think, relevant piece, regarding OVERTIME for the Winter 2015 issue of “Two More Chains.”

        Ground Truths

        The Ultimate Persuader

        “A couple of volunteers make their way down to the edge, which takes several hours, and start to assess. What do you think they find? Exactly what you’d expect, it’s a long ragged edge that requires way more work than we have the capacity to provide (remember there’s eight of us). Now, of course we can go down there and pull cord and dull edges, but we’re certainly not going to put the entire flank to bed. It’s been made clear more ground resources are not an option. The Duty Officer just wants us to do something if we can since we’re there, otherwise they’ll pull us out and wait to see if the fire forces them to go big D.

        Decisions, Decisions

        So what do we do? Should we get down in there or not? More importantly, how do we decide? On the surface it may seem pretty straight forward. The basic risk management model would come out like this: The risk (mangled bro) is not worth the gain (partially secure line = unsecure flank = nothing). Using that logic, it sounds like a quick trip to the bottom of the list.

        So I’m sitting on this ridge throwing rocks into the snow patch discussing options with seven other dirtballs. You’ve all been there:

        “Dude, this is why we exist—to do this kind of work.”
        “Yeah, I’ve done this exact assignment plenty of times.”
        “What are we really going to accomplish by going down there?”
        “Who gives a rip? We do stupid crap all the time!”
        “What’s the plan if someone gets hurt?”
        “Same as it ever is. Stop the bleeding and call for help.”
        “You heard the D.O. If we don’t go we’re getting demombed [sic].”
        “Man, that’s a lot of Oats and H to turn our backs on.”

        Overtime

        Bam, there it is. The main reason most of us are here: The ultimate persuader.

        How do we measure the success of the season? What’s the first thing we ask each other about assignments? What do we compulsively keep track of?

        Overtime.

        I love it. I want more. It motivates me. I’ll do things that don’t make sense to accumulate it. I’d prefer ripping off entire hillsides and dumping pumpkins for 16s, but I certainly won’t question mopping another 100 feet in just to suck up every scrap hour possible.

        If we really want folks to make decisions based more on risk than money, sign blank CTRs (order one less air tanker to offset the cost). Otherwise, when you’re hearing the story in the Emergency Room, don’t judge us for choosing to “get down in there.””

        And, to be honest, I had to look it up on Wildandfire dot com’s “Wildland Fire Acronyms” to discover that a CTR is a “Crew Time Report, filled out daily and submitted to the Time Unit on large fires.”

        I’m hearing here a clear and common plea that We The People pay firefighters (be they city, state, federal, whatever) adequately for the services they provide. Which relates to my comment regarding the GM Hotshots and the City of Prescott.

        I think it’s a fair warning.

        • Marti Reed says

          If the link I’m about to post doesn’t show up, just google “two more chains” “winter 2015” and you’ll find it.

          • Marti Reed says

            Nope. I can’t link it. That also happened with their page containing all kinds of stuff regarding the Salt Fire down below.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Okay… that link above works fine.

                Here is all I did to post it into the message above…

                1) I Googled “two more chains” “winter 2015″.
                2) It showed up as the second result in search results.
                3) I clicked it that search result link.
                4) The correct Wildland Lessons Learned page appeared.
                5) I highlighted the URL showing in Browser address bar.
                6) I ‘copied’ the highlighted URL to clipboard.
                7) I clicked ‘Reply’ above.
                8) I typed the word “Testing…”
                9) I pasted the URL into the message.
                10) I clicked ‘Post Comment’.
                11) It showed up ( and works ) no problem.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Only think I can think of is that WordPress will NOT allow blocks of HTML to be inserted into messages. That’s why you can’t add IMAGES to your posts or do any EMBED statements. The message will be simply ‘tossed’ by WordPress if it finds any funky HTML directives in it.

                  So maybe somehow the links you are trying to ‘paste’ into the messages have some ‘hidden’ HTML commands associated with them… or something.

                  Try this trick…

                  Before you ‘paste’ a URL you may have copied to your clipboard into a mesage… just ‘paste’ it first into some generic TEXT editor and see what appears.

                  If it’s not a ‘clean’ URL… and has some HTML or Javascript crap associated with it… it’s not going to work in these WordPress posts.

                • Marti Reed says

                  WTKTT Thanks for posting the link.

                  I did exactly the same thing you did. I don’t know what is not working for me.

                  But that’s OK. I don’t want to draw attention away from people just going there and reading that. So THANKS!

                  The whole issue is definitely worth reading. Very provocative. His stuff is great!

                  • Marti Reed says

                    And thanks for the tip re pasting to text edit to see what happens.

                    This has really cost me a lot of time that I didn’t have today.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Update… I think I figured out the problem.

                At the Wildland Lessons Learned site… if you RIGHT CLICK and do a ‘Copy Link Location’ on one of those actual PDF file links they have on their pages… you will get a screwed up URL that isn’t going to pass muster with the WordPress message filters that will be applied to your post.

                They are doing TWO things wrong at that website…

                1) They are improperly ‘escaping’ the characters in the URL itself that you ‘copy’ to your clipboard. WordPress will ‘choke’ on that improper URL formatting.

                2) They have not set the MIME TYPE correctly on that Server for the proper delivery of these documents. If WordPress does a ‘quick hit’ check on the URL while filtering your message… the whole kit and kabootle will fail and your message will get ‘tossed’.

                Best bet if you are trying to link to anything at this screwed up Wildland Fire Lessons Learned website is to just find the PAGE that has the links to the document… post THAT here into WordPress… and let the user click the actual document links with their own Browser.

                Browsers have better ability to handle screwed up URLS than WordPress does.

  27. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** GM HAD THE NOAA WEATHER CHANNEL ON THEIR RADIOS

    NOTE: This has been ‘brought up’ from down below in a thread that ran out of room.

    Reply to Robert the Second (RTS) post on March 1, 2015 at 10:00 am

    >> RTS said…
    >>
    >> On BOTH fires ( Yarnell and South Canyon), the resources on these fires had (or
    >> should have had) the ‘NOAA Weather Channel’ in their radios (162.550 and local
    >> variations) programmed into their handheld and/or vehicle radios. This is common
    >> knowledge and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in the wildland fire world.
    >> These frequencies are touted as ‘The Voice of NOAA’s National Weather Service.’

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/resources/NWR_Brochure_NOAA_PA_94062.pdf

    >> The fact that the GMHS and those on the South Canyon Fire chose to ignore the
    >> readily available means to know the forecast weather falls on them – NOT on
    >> the NWS meteorologists. The first Fire Order is “Recognize current weather
    >> conditions and obtain forecasts.” the NOAA weather channel is one of the key
    >> means that WFF use to do this

    Whether they ( Marsh/Steed/Crew ) were paying ANY attention to the NOAA Weather Channel remains a mystery… but there is CONFIRMATION ( from Brendan McDonough ) that they DID normally have that channel punched into all the GM radios.

    At the following point in Brendan’s first ADOSH interview, ADOSH investigator Barry Hicks is going over with Brendan what he was actually doing for most of the afternoon down there at his lookout mound position.

    Brendan verified that he did, in fact, have the standard (public) NOAA Weather Channel punched into his radio and he WAS hearing about the weather that way. He describes listening to the exact ‘computerized voice’ that is used by the NOAA Weather Channel reporting the ‘local’ weather.

    PDF Page 18 of Brendan’s first ADOSH interview on August 20, 2013

    Q1 = Barry Hicks, ADOSH investigator
    A = Brendan McDonough
    ——————————————————————————————-
    760 Q1: Were you noticing any – did you notice any change in the winds
    761 as the day progressed, ah, either direction or strength, um, or?
    762
    763 A: I’d say we had winds between five and ten. Consistently out of south,
    764 southwest and they didn’t shift until moments after the weather came over the
    765 radio.
    766
    767 Q1: You mean when they – they announced the thunderstorms building – how did
    768 they – how did they say that over the radio?
    769
    770 A: It’s almost like a computer voice. What the weather is in the local areas.
    ———————————————————————————————

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Notice that Brendan also told ADOSH the winds began shifting down there in that ‘middle bowl’ just MINUTES after the 1530 broadcast on TAC from FBAN Byron Kimball

      Not ‘within the half hour’. The winds that would ‘turn’ the fire were basically ALREADY arriving even as that “within the half hour” announcement was being made on TAC.

      “they ( the winds ) didn’t shift until moments after the weather came over the radio.”.

      The “weather that came over the radio” that Brendan is referring to there is the actual 1530 ‘announcement’ on the TAC channels from FBAN Byron Kimball.

      Apparently… even Kimball’s announcement was well ‘behind the ball’ that day.

      Indeed… those wind shifts were ALREADY dramatic and were causing the fire to spin 180 degrees and come SOUTH back at Brendan’s position… and are what almost caused Brendan to lose his own life that day… well BEFORE the predicted ‘half-hour’ timeframe announced in the 1530 TAC channel weather update from Kimball.

      When Brendan told Steed that the fire had reversed to the SOUTH and was now coming right at him… and he needed to abandon his position ( circa 1535 / 3:35 PM )… Brendan also says Steed came right back with…

      “We can SEE what is happening. Do what you need to do.”

      So as early as 1535 / 3:35 PM there is absolute confirmation from Steed that they could SEE the fireline in their area ( and near Brendan ) had REVERSED 180 degrees and was now headed SOUTH… right at Brendan’s lookout mound.

      Even if we didn’t have the MacKenzie photos to verify that is exactly what was happening ( and that GM could SEE IT )… that report from Brendan would be CONFIRMATION that as early as 1535 / 3:35 PM Jesse Steed himself could SEE it… and he KNEW the tail fire had now turned into a HEAD fire heading SOUTH ( not EAST ).

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        Thanks. Good stuff here. I figured that the GMHS would have the NOAA weather channel in their radios. Thanks for verifying that. Like Marti said – (paraphrasing here) it’s not the meteorologists that failed, it’s the WFF that failed to heed the warnings and then mitigate accordingly.

        I have said before that the GMHS with Steed in charge, sitting in their perfectly good black SZ could/should have WARNED Brendan McDonough LONG BEFORE he was to hit his trigger point and warned him to get a move on and/or call Frisby to scoop him once the fire chewed through the indirect retardant line. Any and all air support MUST be backed up with ground forces or else it is USELESS.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I’ve also always thought it was pretty interesting ( and revealing? ) that here we have the following (paraphrased) exchange between lookout McDonough and his Captain Steed…

          McDonough: Hey Jesse… fire has REVERSED direction and its now heading SOUTH and coming right AT me… I need to get OUT of here.

          Steed: Yea. I know. I can SEE that. Do what you need to do.

          And then that’s IT.

          No other reported radio como such as either McDonough OR Steed IMMEDIATELY attempting to contact anyone in Blue Ridge to even BEGIN arranging for a ‘rescue’ for Brendan.

          Zero. Zip. Nada.

          Brendan just casually starts walking down from the lookout mound and ( by his own admission ) checking out possible places to deploy.

          Steed just ( apparently ) went about his business. No other concerns or attempts to help Brendan.

          It was only AFTER Brendan’s ‘walk’ down from the lookout mound that it even occurred to HIM that he better start seeing if someone in Blue Ridge was even available to come get him or not.

          But still NO sense of ‘urgency’ being reported on anyone’s part.

          There is ( and has always been ) something really STRANGE about how that was going down… considering Brendan’s life really WAS on the line the moment that fire turned and started heading his way.

          The time that was LOST with neither Brendan nor Steed even lifting a finger to contact Blue Ridge *might* have actually become the difference between life and death that day for Brendan himself… given even just a slight speed-up of the circumstances.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Example:It is known that Frisby and Brown were ‘bombing around’ that entire area all day in the BR Polaris Ranger… sometimes all the way back to Highway 89 and/or the Youth Camp.

            What if Frisby had NOT been ‘accidentally’ on his way out west for that strange ‘second face-to-face’ with Marsh requested at that seemingly BAD time for ANYONE to be trying to get UP onto that ridge considering what the fire was NOW doing.

            What if Frisby had been all the way ‘in town’ with the Ranger when it became important for Brendan to be rescued?

            What if the Polaris Ranger had developed mechanical problems and wasn’t even AVAILABLE around that time?

            It really seems like if THAT was the only real planned ‘evacuation’ for Brendan that no one ( Brendna, Steed, no one ) didn’t immediately get on the radio with Frisby the MOMENT Brendan realized he was ‘under threat’ and had to leave that mound.

            It seems like the SANE thing to have done at that exact moment was to damn well VERIFY that the someone from Blue Ridge WAS ‘available’ to get out there ASAP, meet Brendan coming down, and get him the hell out of there.

            It didn’t happen.

            It was all very ‘casual’… and no sense of ‘urgency’ at all.

            Brendan says when he finally even got around to realizing he better call Blue Ridge ( because Steed had also made no attempts to do so )… he was about to press ‘transmit’ and here comes Frisby on the Ranger still thinking he had time to make it all the way to talk with Marsh, at Marsh’s request about ( something? we still don’t know what ).

            What if it hadn’t just ( accidentally ) happened that way.

            What would Brendan REALLY have done, at that point?

            Take off RUNNING to the EAST?
            Try to get back UP to where everyone else was?
            Go ahead and get in his shake and bake by the old-grader?

            No one ever actually ever asked him that question OR attempted to verify with Brendan himself the “what if Frisby hadn’t accidentally appeared or had been actually unavailable at that time?”

            • Bob Powers says

              I just do not and have not understood why a supervisor would hang one of their crew out like that and have no concern for their welfare?

              So my question is Did Steed already know Marsh had called Frisby
              and Frisby was in route so he was playing with McDonough which is not very cool either

              Just my thought as a possibility if not which we may never know
              Not a good supervisor decision and concern with your look out. .

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Reply to Bob Powers post on March 2, 2015 at 10:06 am

                >> Bob Powers said…
                >>
                >> My question is Did Steed already know Marsh
                >> had called Frisby and Frisby was in route?

                If Captain Jesse Steed had been monitoring the TAC channels in the 1635 timeframe ( and there is no evidence he was NOT ) then yes… he would have HEARD DIVSA Marsh asking BR SUPT Frisby to come back up there for another face-to-face meeting… and Steed would have ALSO heard Frisby’s immediate response of (quote) “I’ll head up that way”.

                However… as with most things to do with this incident… one good answer just leads to another whole set of ‘questions’ that then, in turn, deserve answers.

                For example…

                1) Regardless of what Steed might have overheard ( on TAC channel )… did Brendan ALSO hear it? Brendan’s priority channel was the GM intra-crew and not TAC.

                2) Did NEITHER Jesse NOR Brendan hear this because that’s when they were both on the GM intra-crew talking to each other about the 1530 weather report.

                3) Brendan ( via his own testimony ) seemed to be clueless about Frisby being anywhere near him and seemed to be as surprised as he could be when he finally decided he better press TRANSMIT and try and call Blue Ridge… and here comes Frisby on the UTV right in front of him before Brendan even had a chance to make the transmit.

                4) If Steed WAS aware that Frisby was ‘headed that way’… why is there no record of Captain Steed then making any attempt to contact Frisby and TELL him of the developing situation with Brendan and TELL Frisby to be sure and stop there to get him. If Frisby had been just seconds ahead that day… he would have blown right past the old-grader and would have never even realized Brendan was still just about to come walking out of the bushes there. Frisby would have ( most likely ) just continued on up for the face-to-face and Brendan would still have been ‘stuck’ down there to face his own impending emergency by himself.

                There is NO RECORD of ANYONE advising Frisby he better STOP at the old-grader to get Brendan… even if people knew he was already on his way out there.

                Not DIVSA Marsh, not GMIHCS Steed, not Brendan.

                No one.

                It was still a COMPLETE ACCIDENT that Frisby happened to have spotted Brendan just after he emerged from those bushes there near the old-grader… and that accidental meet-up is probably what saved Brendan’s life.

                That is still very, very strange.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Apologies. Bad TIME related typo above.

                  I typed 1635 instead of 1535.

                  The request from DIVSA Marsh to BR SUPT Frisby that he come up for that second face to face was in the 3:35 PM timeframe ( and obviously NOT the 4:35 PM timeframe ).

                  Sentence above should have read like this…

                  If Captain Jesse Steed had been monitoring the TAC channels in the 1535 timeframe ( and there is no evidence he was NOT ) then yes… he would have HEARD DIVSA Marsh asking BR SUPT Frisby to come back up there for another face-to-face meeting… and Steed would have ALSO heard Frisby’s immediate response of (quote) “I’ll head up that way”.

          • Robert the Second says

            WTKTT,

            This is one of the most telling scenes of the entire YH Fire/GMHS debacle for me as an indication of the lax attitude the GMHS had to fire behavior and safety in general.

            A good, responsible WFF supervisor, having a far superior view of the fire and situational awareness, would have quickly informed his lookout of the situation and the need to mitigate matters. It was NOT done in this case.

            Instead, this entire situation was left in the hands of a third year Crewman. McDonough’s ‘hillbilly’ comment to DOSH investigators regarding Fire Order #10 – “Fight fire aggressively having provide for safety first” – indicates to me the unsafe attitude of the GMHS with this comment.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Exactly.

              Steed: “I know. I can SEE ( the problem ). Do what you have to do”.

              That’s it. That is ALL the concern that Captain Jesse Steed was showing for one of his men who he could now SEE with his own eyes was in a bad situation.

              “Just do what you have to do”.

              What the F**K is that supposed to mean?

              The fact that Captain Steed did NOT, himself, IMMEDIATELY press ‘transmit’ on his OWN radio and IMMEDIATELY make DAMN sure someone from Blue Ridge WAS ‘available’ to come and rescue Brendan is just… well… I don’t know what to call it.

              Unbelievable.

              If Brendan had died… THIS would be the ‘mystery’ that everyone would be talking about and trying to solve. HOW could his own Captain have been so unconcerned about his safety to NOT make that IMMEDIATE radio call to Blue Ridge.

              • Robert the Second says

                WTKTT,

                Exactly back at you. It clearly indicates early-on their unsafe attitude to all things that really mattered.

                BAD DECISIONS WITH PRIOR GOOD OUTCOMES again and again and again and …

                Check out the Upper Lyons RX burn Fire Shelter Deployment link I posted for the incredible attitude of management approving and condoning fire shelter usage INSTEAD OF following the Basic WFF Rules and AVOIDING DEPLOYMENTS. The FLA Team Leaders/Members are Deputy Directors in both the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Pretty disturbing if you ask me.

                • Robert the Second says

                  I have tried numerous times to post the link for the above but to no avail; the webserver will not post it.

                  Just search from “Upper Lyons RX Shelter Deployment (2014)” on the Wikdland Fire LLC site

              • SR says

                This was one of the few places where the SAIR was subtly critical. If memory serves (I can’t access it right now) the SAIR notes that Steed received the news re McDonough “calmly” and, in context, I think the usage is similar to a report noting “Mr. Smith was contacted in the restaurant and told his car outside was on fire, and received the news fairly calmly without inquiring further.” This does relate directly to possible immunity for PFD in the lawsuits, because if there were a known history of this type of thing, without intervention — a very big if of course — even if the indifference is coming from a good place intentions-wise, it’s still problematic.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Copy that.

                  The way the SAIR described it is even more bizarre than your recollection above.

                  The SAIR says the GM Captain Steed’s only response to Brendan telling him the fire had changed direction 180 degrees and was now headed SOUTH and right at him… and he now HAD to get OUT of there was…

                  Jesse Steed: “Okay. Cool”.

                  OKAY, COOL?

                  One of your own crewmembers that you are responsible for tells you their life is basically now in danger and your only verbal reaction is “Okay. Cool”?

                  What is WRONG with THAT picture?

                  Here is that exact section of the official Arizona Forestry sponsored SAIT report…

                  —————————————————–
                  He ( GM Lookout ) calls GM Capt and says the fire has hit his trigger point and he is moving towards the open area at the old grader.

                  GM Capt calmly replies, “Okay, cool.”

                  GM Lookout hikes toward the grader. As he hikes, he identifies options including an alternative lookout spot further up the road, a POSSIBLE SHELTER DEPLOYMENT SITE near the grader, and a little clearing just down from his original lookout spot where he could DEPLOY HIS SHELTER if the FIRE CAUGHT HIM.

                  At this same time, BR Supt is driving back in his UTV to meet DIVS A for a face-to-face meeting.

                  As GM Lookout reaches the grader, he reaches for his radio to call BR Supt and ask for a ride, when he sees BR Supt driving around the corner.

                  About then, GM Capt calls GM Lookout and says, “I’ve got eyes on you and the fire, and it’s making a good push.”
                  ————————————————

                  So look at even the SAIT’s own official report about what Steed said just minutes after he said “Okay, cool” to Brendan.

                  Steed is only now supposedly calling Brendan back and essentially WARNING him that he can SEE that the fire is “making a good push” right AT him…

                  …but the SAIT still failed to report what in the hell ( if any ) instructions from Steed FOLLOWED that warning.

                  The SAIT says that Steed was now definitely telling Brendan he was in “trouble”… and that Steed could actually SEE that… but Steed is still not offering his crewmember any advice on what to do next?

                  That’s what the SAIT itself would have us believe.

                  • SR says

                    Thanks for that and in particular for the exact verbiage!

                    In terms of the context of “calmly” in that situation, I’m not suggesting that Steed should have sounded agitated or otherwise anxious. But, there’s a difference between “Ok, cool,” and “Ok, we have [in essence a near-incident] to see to a safe escape.” A pattern of simply being confident that all will work out is bound sooner or later to end badly. Based on the facts known now, I’d infer that imo no one on GM knew exactly the anticipated speed of the fire at that point, how long it would take McDonough to exercise any escape options, or, as shown by McDonough walking around and evaluating things on the fly there, what his true options were. Leaving this to the judgment of a less-experienced crew member who is known to not be feeling well adds to the risk of a negative outcome. It did work out, because of a factor beyond GM’s direct control, but before the lookout got picked up there was a lot of readily available information that it seems wasn’t accessed or utilized. With implications for decision-making on other fires and also later in the day at Yarnell.

    • Marti Reed says

      Thanks for this. I’ve never actually even explored the NOAA mobile weather thing.

      I get some kind of weather notification on my iPad (I can’t remember what the app is) if something’s happening in my neck of the woods. And I follow a bunch of local meteorologists on Twitter (people here in Burque are weather-obsessed).

      And I have the Real-Time Lightning Map app on my computer and my iPad, which is awesome (I watched the Carlton Complex blow up in real time under all the lightning, thinking OMG-uh-oh!!!!).

      During hard-core thunderstorms here I have the radio on, so I hear the static. And the Lightning Map then almost immediately shows the location of the lightning strike, and then I hear the thunder roll in.

      But I’ve never checked out the NOAA thing, so I don’t know what it actually does. Maybe I’ll fiddle around with it tomorrow. We have a major winter storm continuing to roll in.

      And, PS, I agree with all the comments regarding the apparent casualness regarding Brendan’s situation. I had not really thought about it, but, all things considered, yes, it does seem really…………strange.

  28. Robert the Second says

    Calvin,

    I think it was you that requested a YouTube clip showing crews in a SZ as the fire burned around them, This one will have to suffice until I find the precise one I’ve been searching for.

    This is a video clip of the August 13, 2007 Cascade Complex on the Boise NF in central Idaho. This is video of the fire actually burning AROUND the Fire Camp. The IMT and the ensuing highly biased Investigative Report used the euphemism of a “Burn Around” – a first – to cover for the IMT’s incompetence. Numerous Crews and Overhead had told the IMT that the Fire Camp was in direct alignment when the numerous fires surrounding the Fire Camp grew together on several occasions, but to no avail. These fires eventually did grow together and align with the Cascade Complex Fire Camp just as the Crews and Overhead had accurately predicted. The Fire Camp in this case was in essence a SZ and a quite large one at that, so you’ll get the idea as you watch it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLJYigWchf0

    Someone even had T-shirts made of the event and the IC was quick to stop the sale of them as quickly as he could to quell any further embarrassment to him and his IMT for NOT heeding the accurate and timely warnings.

      • Marti Reed says

        The thing that, actually, made me think the MOST about this (aside from the drama of it all) was the fact that, for a long time after this, how many people were seriously experiencing respiratory problems from having been in this.

        Which, upon thinking about it, didn’t surprise me.

        Which then made me wonder about the health/respiratory effects wildland fire fighters experience as a consequence of all the smoke exposure they are exposed to on a regular basis.

        I mean, as in the Aaron videos of “cough cough” being there in the Shrine Road area, etc……

        And the Swartz photos at the Ranch House Restaurant parking lot where you can barely see anything because of all the smoke as that fire column was just laying totally down over Yarnell.

        I was talking to my daughter’s father yesterday after my mom’s memorial. He lives in Flagstaff. We were talking about the Slide Fire. About how when the inversions happened, everybody in Sedona got choked out, and when they lifted, everybody in Flagstaff got choked out.

        And I keep thinking……….what happens to the fire fighters, who are constantly exposed to all this smoke?????

        Does it affect you? I can’t imagine how it couldn’t.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Wow. Thanks for finding/sharing that.

      I don’t care how safe those ( I count DOZENS? ) of FFs thought they were… I’ll bet that row of port-a-potties there in front of the dumpster got ‘well used’ that afternoon.

      Notice how that as the fire envelopes the site… you really can’t tell WHAT direction the original prevailing winds were. The fire is ‘twisting and turning’ of its own accord and the wind ( and the fire ) looks like it is encroaching the site from ALL directions.

      This goes back to a thread somewhere way down below ( in this chapter ) regarding the SAIR diagrams of the boides at the deployment site… and which way they were FACING.

      It still seems very likely that in the last moments of their lives… it was not at all that clear WHICH direction some of the firefighters should have their FEET pointing as they went into shelter. By the time they were getting into shelters… the fire might have also been encroaching that entire deployment area and ‘coming at them’ from ALL directions… so putting your “feet towards the fire” might have been totally relative to WHERE they were actually trying to deploy within that small area.

      ** SURROUNDED BY FIRE

      On the right hand ‘other videos’ menu for the above video is another one called ‘Surrounded by Fire’. The ‘black’, in this case, is an abandoned parking lot.

      What actually happened ( by their own admission in the video ) is that they were trying to do burnouts along a road and one of them got away from them, jumped the road, joined up with an already active leg of the fire… and they next they knew they were ‘Surrounded by Fire’ and had to ‘ride it out’ in their ‘safety zone’.

      Same sort of DRAMATIC footage as the video above.

      Surrounded by Fire
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVY2uU3jMH4

      YouTube ABOUT information for this video…

      Uploaded on Apr 12, 2007

      This was shot a couple of years ago at the southern California wildfires. I was there for 6 days covering the fire. The first day we got the best shots. we were so close that we got trapped in a parking lot until the fire burned around us.

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        Good one. Check this one out again since I posted this way back when …

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKfsFkb_9fI

        This is a video clip of a Canadian NWT experimental fire showing fire behavior and how rapidly and intensely it burns. Watch the timer in the bottom left. You would be dead in less than 20 seconds! They were testing PPE, fire shelters, building materials and more. There are a whole series of these out there somewhere.

        THIS is the type of INTENSE fire behavior that the GHMS experienced on 30 June 2013. NO FIRE SHELTER IN USE TODAY OR DESIGNED IN THE FUTURE CAN WITHSTAND THIS TYPE OF FIRE BEHAVIOR. That’s why we follow the WFF Rules.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          So getting out once before each fire season to ‘roll around’ in the ‘green’ (fake) fire shelters is one thing…

          …but is it NOT also part of the training for these men who are meant to actually USE these things to actually WATCH these videos you are posting?

          Are you old enough to remember the movie called “Mechanized Death”?

          When I was learning to drive… it was REQUIRED that we watch it.
          The whole point of the movie was to show you… once and for all.. the LIMITATIONS of the vehicle you will soon be driving and how it in no way is any guarantee you will survive an accident. So don’t even ‘go there’.

          Seems to me there should be something similar in the WFF world.

          Something that shows these men who are supposed to decide to get into these things EXACTLY what conditions are NOT survivable… so don’t even think about trying it. Do something ELSE ( like NEVER get into a circumstance that isn’t going to be survivable… for starters ).

          I would think if any of those men had actually ever seen the video you just posted… even just ONCE… then they would have understood that RUNNING was the ONLY thing that represented ANY chance to stay alive that day.

          Something tells me there are a LOT of WFFs out there carrying these things on the bottom of their packs who are still totally CLUELESS about its limitations and under what circumstances it is NEVER going to work.

          That’s an identifiable issue with an easy solution.

          Better TRAINING… with more TRUTHFUL information.

          • Robert the Second says

            WTKTT,

            Yes I am old enough to remember the movie called “Mechanized Death.” Very sobering and very disturbing and very real. Nothing at all wrong about being a realist in these situations, especially in the WFF world.

            We trained ‘realistically’ and that was sometimes ‘offensive’ to some of our supervisors who asked us “Who do you think you are anyway?” because THEY had never seen they type of fire behavior we had, therefore it did NOT exist in THEIR minds.

            Check this out – ‘The Lyons RX Burn Shelter Deployment FLA.’ Most disturbing.

            OMG! A 6’4″ 310 pound Nature Conservancy behemoth was on a Training Exercise (TREX) and deployed a fire shelter on a RX Burn within 2 hours of ignition, spotting over 4/ to 5′ WIDE handline. Wait until you see the fuels and fire behavior photos the behemoth took before deploying. WTF! He stated the fire shelter “WAS ROOMY.” How nice.

            The FLA comments are very disturbing: “This firefighter did just what managers and supervisors expect all personnel to do when entrapped: ‘Follow your training and use your fire shelter without hesitation.’ This firefighter is alive today because the firefighter did not delay in deciding to deploy the fire shelter.”

            The FLA Team NOWHERE in the FLA does it refer to KNOWING AND FOLLOWING THE TEN STANDARD FIRE ORDERS, KNOWING AND APPLYING THE WATCH OUT SITUATIONS,AND KNOWING, HEEDING, AND MITIGATING ANY OF LCES. The FLA only talks about how the shelter saved their life and more meaningless blather supporting the use of fire shelters instead of ‘THE RULES.’ WTF!

        • rocksteady says

          The Crown Fire Initiation project in teh NWT was designed to give Fire Behaviour type people and researchers an insight into how a fire develops in this particular fuel type.

          We call it the C-2 Fuel Model (coniferous, type 2) which is mainly composed of mature Black Spruce. Mature black spruce in the Northern Boreal Forests is famous for it sability to go from benign to extreme, due to teh fact that the spruce usually have limbs all the way to the ground (canopy base height), as well they are very resinous, igniting and becoming volatile very quickly.

          The basics of the fire developing here is probably SIMILAR in nature to what GM experienced, however because tehy were in a different fuel type (chapparal) the fire would be a bit different. THe spruce are 50 ft tall, the chapparal was only 10 to 15, maybe 20 ft. As I am not familiar with teh chaparral I can not confirm that the fire behaviour depicted in the video is identical to the YHF behaviour.

          Taken at face value, you can see how the fire develops, climbs the ladder fuels, becomes a fully involved crown fire. The residence time (how long it hangs around in one spot, has been documented to be approximately 1 minute. Residence time in chaparral, I have no clue.

          The other part of the NWT experiments was to test teh theory of “defensible space”, how much firesmarting/fuel management needs to be done around a structure to help ensure it survives.

          The resul;ts show that most structures (wood siding) can survive a fire like the video shows if there is a 100 ft fuel break. WFF’s are not as fire hardy as a wooden structure, so they set up the PPE to determine how it is impacted by the fire.

          If you google the Cown Fire Initiation modelling expweriment, there may be more videos. I have not checked.

          So, to sum up. The fire in the video MAY be similar to what GM experienced, but is not an absolute, true 100% depiction of what tehy faced. Don’t just look at the video and assume that is what GM were trapped in.

            • Robert the Second says

              Rocksteady,

              Thanks for this NWT Experiment video. This is a very good overview of the entire project with some good segments of fire behavior and it also shows some of the limitations of PPE and the fire shelters.

              Your comments above about the ‘Intense Fire’ video I posted are noted. I merely showed it for those who had NO fire experience and NO idea of the potential fire intensity. It was merely for the purpose of indicating what goes on ‘inside a fire. Thanks again.

              • rocksteady says

                I was just making sure that people with no fire experience don’t take the leap that every forest fire is like this. Depends on fuels, weatehr etc etc…

      • Marti Reed says

        Yeah, this connects to the video I posted down below from the Salt Fire, of what was happening when the Safety Officer and the Dozer Operator and two others (it’s too complicated for me to have it all planted in my brain) were still in the parking area that wasn’t a Safety Zone, after all, were scrambling around to survive.

        Everything is burning, the smoke is so dense they can’t even see who or what is even still in the area where they are, and even when the Ops guy backs up into that area to lead them to the recently discovered adequate Safety Zone, they can’t even see him to follow him out, so he has to guide them via directions over the radio.

        I think this is why there is now a major conversation going on right now regarding the necessary RELATIVE SIZE of “AUTHORIZED” (ala the discussion related to the Salt Fire) Safety Zones and the necessary LENGTH and SCOUTING of the Escape Routes to them.

        Which is, right now reminding me, also, of the Sadler Fire.

        What I am getting from all this is that this kind of, in many instances, “ad hoc” fuzzy thinking (as it appears to me) is increasingly being realized as being not SERIOUS enough.

        I haven’t had a chance to interact with Rocksteady in his wondering about the difference between how fires are fought in the USA vs Canada. I wonder how he would evaluate these videos regarding Safety Zones.

        Given that, in Canada, they don’t use Fire Shelters, because they have a higher priority to not allow/push/whatever firefighters into the kinds of situations where they would NEED THEM.

        Sorry if my thinking is a little jumbled and wandering here. But I’m thinking out loud.

        • Marti Reed says

          And now, I’m really writing off the top of my head but……..

          As I recall, and wrote down in my notes, in regards to the post mortem of the Salt Fire on the Lessons Learned site.

          Calvin would love this.

          The Dozer Operator and the Transport Driver for the Dozer, it was determined, didn’t have adequate radio communications with the OPS guy and the IHC Superintendent, who were organizing and leading the evacuation from the inadequate parking area, which was proving to not be an adequate Safety Zone, down the long and winding road to the meadow which WAS an adequate Safety Zone.

          Which proved to be a serious and dangerous headache for all involved.

          So several of the recommendations of the Salt Fire review was for majorly better communications technology and specific TRAINING for contractors, specifically DOZERS.

          Which made me think, immediately, hmmmmmmm………….

          We STILL don’t know what happened with the Dozer, the Dozer Operator (who was, for whatever reason put on the list of possible numbers of people missing that was communicated to the DPS helicopter (by whom and for what reason???)) on the Yarnell Fire.

          One of the serious official Lessons Learned from the Salt Fire was that Dozer Operators and their Transport Drivers need to be considered seriously as Firefighters in all of this.

          Apparently that wasn’t happening on the Yarnell Hill Fire.

    • Marti Reed says

      So when I read the original post, I immediately remembered two completely relevant videos. But it took awhile to dig down into my 900-video Yarnell playlist to find them.

      By the time I found them, one had already been posted — the Cascade Complex.

      And then I had to leave for the days activities.

      So this morning I looked at the other one, and I think it’s my all-time favorite “safety zone” video.

      It’s from the 2012 Salt Fire, in the infamous Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho. It’s a real nail biter. They’re not just moving hotshot crews, but also heavy equipment and lo-boys from one clearing that turned out to not be an adequate safety zone down a narrow winding road to a huge meadow in a VERY short period of time.

      I also found the discussion of what happened to be very honest and sobering and quite relevant to what we are discussing here. I highly recommend it!

      “The Salt Fire
      National Interagency Fire Center ”

      http://youtu.be/B3XWNtRsUcQ

      • Robert the Second says

        Marti,

        Thanks for re-posting this. This Salt Fire (August 2012) video has always been a good ‘lessons learned’ fire and the overhead in charge reviewing it. do a good of honestly and openly discussing what led up to the event, what occurred, and what they could/should have done differently. The Salmon-Cahllis NF has quite a history of NUMEROUS fire shelter deployments and fatality fires over the years.

        Some key points made during the discussion were:

        Don’t call a Safety Zone a Safety Zone until it actually is one.”

        Make sure everyone has all the information they need, like all the components of LCES. Ask people – “what is your Escape Route, where is your Safety Zone, etc.”

        Watch out for the “THE TRAP OF PASSIVE LEADERSHIP’ by seeing something you don’t like and/or are not comfortable with and you do NOT say anything about it. Say something and effect the changes needed.

        • Marti Reed says

          Exactly.

          Those points are so relevant to the Yarnell Fire. In so many ways. It’s like these two totally different fires are trying to talk to each other. I listed point after point after point after point in my notes.

          One of the things that piqued my interest, all things considered, was all the issues connected to that road to the Meadow Safety Zone.

          I mean this whole thing was a serious relative last-minute scramble.

          But BOTH the Ops (T) and the Idaho City Hotshots Sup had DRIVEN it before they both AUTHORIZED it as an adequate Escape Route to an AUTHORIZED Safety Zone.

          That was something they discussed as having been NECESSARY afterwards. Especially given all the confusion beforehand about how the “parking space” was being re-framed as a Safety Zone.

          That issue of that confusion SO links me back to the whole thing on the Yarnell Fire about Gary Cordes just generally pointing to that “Boulder Springs Ranch thingy” on the iPad that morning and saying that’s a “Predetermined Safety Zone.” Which then became “a term” just, apparently, used and used and used during the late afternoon’s conversations about where Granite Mountain was headed to (the Predetermined Safety Zone — Trademark).

          Well, YEAH, on GOOGLE EARTH, that looks like it MIGHT BE an AWESOME SAFETY ZONE, but what if, in actual reality (because the so-called escape route–especially the short-cutted one–to it isn’t even remotely adequate, all things considered, including the timing, given the fire behavior) that particular Escape Route could possibly become a fuel-filled death trap?

          Oh, wait, Google Earth on an iPad can’t, by itself. indicate that.

          Oh well.

          And also this, as you also said:

          “Watch out for the “THE TRAP OF PASSIVE LEADERSHIP’ by seeing something you don’t like and/or are not comfortable with and you do NOT say anything about it. Say something and effect the changes needed.”

          I’m not sure exactly which thing you are thinking of, but what REALLY reverberated in my brain when I heard him saying this was the whole thing about Bravo 3 realizing, as they were reconning the fire, REALIZING (as both WTKKT and I have RANTED about) around 12:30 PM, that, given the most likely weather and the topo, the fire was going to reverse direction THAT AFTERNOON and burn uphill under a thunderstorm cell toward Yarenell (with all the implications of THAT) and who did he communicate that to????

          Rance Marquez, a late-arriving Div Z Supervisor who got in an argument with Eric Marsh and, thus, wandered off to half-heartedly communicate his findings to not even the OPS who he was actually responsible to (Todd Abel) and didn’t even mention that MOST IMPORTANT communique from Bravo 3 ………..

          As they say on Twitter:

          I. Just. Can’t.

          That thing about “passive leadership” is just so relevant to this fire. It’s like NOBODY ever wanted to even begin to take any kind of REAL responsibility for it

          EVER.

          From the very get go. Even though they all signed on and got paid for ……………..

          What?????

          • Marti Reed says

            At least the decision-makers on this whole Safety Zone deal on the Salt Fire were willing to sit down and discuss it honestly. And take responsibility for the mistakes they made.

            So what is Arizona Department of Forestry, the managers of the Yarnell Hill Fire doing right now?

            Oh wait. This is a “different” fire.

          • Marti Reed says

            At this point I feel I need to be honest with you, Robert the Second. I don’t know if you know my story.

            My brother, in January, 51 years ago, was an Eagle Scout Patrol Leader in a Boy Scout Troop. He led his Patrol, under some time pressure from his Troop Leader, to “hurry up” and come down from a ridge above Tent Rocks, in the Jemez, northwest of Albuquerque.

            He chose to lead them down what he considered to look like a shortcut from where they were. That “shortcut” led them down onto a ledge. As he was standing out on that ledge, trying to figure out where to go next, the ledge broke from under him. He fell 350 feet, and landed on his head, and was killed.

            The rest of his Patrol was still stranded on that ledge.

            A helicopter flew into that area from Albuquerque to rescue the rest of his Patrol. As it was attempting to do that, it almost clipped its rotors on the steep side of the upslope.

            A rescuer rappelled from the helicopter down to the boys in my brother’s Patrol to rescue them. He broke his leg in that rescue.

            In spite of this, those Boy Scouts were rescued. It was ALL OVER the newspapers. I was 13 at the time. My brother was 15.

            I remember sitting in his bedroom after that. Sensing a combination of things.

            One of them was, essentially, “WTF????? What were you even THiNKING?????????”

            I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the answer to that question.

            Even in my 13-year-old mind (and I was a relatively experienced Girl Scout at that point) I was aware of both the danger he put himself into and the danger he put the rest of his Patrol into. Et al.

            And I just couldn’t.

            The only thing I could even possibly do with this was to…

            Decide that, even though I couldn’t understand WHY/HOW he could have been thinking what he was thinking as he led his “crew” down onto that sandstone ledge, under some “pressure” from his Troop Leader (who, if this had happened in these litigious times would have been sued up the wazoo, but my dad was a really good friend of his (and was there when it happened) so he wouldn’t have even thought of doing that)…..

            ….I could decide never to lead a group of people who were less experienced than I into the same kind of situation.

            I led groups of people all over the Grand Canyon for ten years and I was always absolutely committed to NEVER EVER leading them too far out onto dangerous places in the Grand Canyon (even though, I admit, I often went to those dangerous places myself).

            This is one of the reasons I haven’t always been able to, personally, jump on your bandwagon. But I’ve always taken you perspective seriously.

            That’s why I have written periodically that Shakespeare could have written this fire.

            Just as how Shakespeare could have written my brother’s death and all the resulting complicated layered human consequences that resulted from that tragedy.

            I’m thinking of your relentless focus on dangerous actions with previous positive outcomes. There have been times when that relentless focus has set my teeth on edge. Maybe because I am sometimes guilty of the same thing? Because I am aware of how many of us are (to be honest) also? My daughter’s driving makes me crazy, in spite of all I taught her about defensive driving.

            BUT I think back to how I decided to NEVER EVER make the same mistake my brother did when it came to OTHER PEOPLES lives, even though I took some serious risks that completely freaked out my mother regarding my own life.

            I don’t know exactly where you are located. I was a 1973 graduate of Prescott College. A bunch of my friends were in the Prescott College Wildfire Fighting Crew that was, essentially, the grandmother of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. I worked for the caterer who fed the firefighters during the wildfires around Prescott while I was a student at Prescott College.

            So, in essence, as we discuss these things, and as I struggle to understand them, and as you write what you write, I’m feeling now that I want you to know a bit more about who I am and where I’m coming from.

            I am here in Albuquerque, near Rio Rancho, where both Bea Day and Tom French live, near where Chuck Maxwell works. not all that far from Silver City, where Bravo 33 flew out from, I was raised by and worked for a major southwestern meteorologist, I have serious history in both Prescott and Flagstaff (I lived there for 10 years), and, for some reason, I just want you to know that at this time, all things considered.

            And I’m currently contemplating a much needed (for a variety of reasons) visit to Arizona.

            • Marti Reed says

              And after, and during, I wrote all of this, and even before this, I have been feeling INCREASINGLY concerned about the reality that we haven’t heard anything from Joy.

              Or Sonny.

              I’m not feeing good about this.

      • Marti Reed says

        Hmm. I posted the Salt Fire page on the Lessons Learned Site but I guess I did something wrong becuz it didn’t go through. A bunch more information on that Safety Zone Incident:

        “Salt Fire (2011)

        On August 29, 2011, at approximately 1800 hours, fire activity increased significantly on the east end of the Salt Fire. Ground resources were ordered to disengage and evacuate. During evacuation, one of the predetermined escape routes became engulfed by the fire. Ground resources using that escape route were then ordered back to a parking area and then into a safety zone. While at the parking area, a transport driver and a dozer operator shared a fire shelter to shield themselves from the intense heat from the advancing fire. Soon after the two took cover using the fire shelter, a line safety officer at the parking area drove up to the two individuals, loaded them in his truck and transported them to the safety zone. No injuries were reported.”

        • Marti Reed says

          OK every time I post a link to a page of documents on the Lessons Learned site, the link disappears.

          So, if you are interested in reading the VERY interesting materials on the Salt Fire and the Safety Zone incident, google “salt fire” and “lessons learned” and it will take you to a link called “Salt Fire (2011) – Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center”

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          At +8:50 into the video ( and for the next 60 seconds ).

          Cyclonic development. Fire whirl. Amazing stuff.

          • Marti Reed says

            Yes it is.

            AND I kept thinking hmmm “I remember the Santiago Fire for something else, what was that??”

            Oh yes!! They had a fire shelter deployment that was pretty awesome. And successful. You DEFINITELY have to see THIS:

            “Santiago Fire Shelter Deployment
            WildlandFireLLC”

            “Fire shelter deployment from October 22, 2007 by Orange County Fire Authority engine crews. Photos by Karen Tapia Anderson of the Los Angeles Times. Video courtesy of the LA Times.”

            http://youtu.be/HF0UedIiIrc

            • Marti Reed says

              The Santiago fire was one of the hellacious fires during the hellacious awful 2003 Southern California Extreme Fire Season.

              • Marti Reed says

                Correction. I meant 2007 Extreme Southern California Wildfire Season. It’s easy to get the two mixed up. They were both catastrophic.

            • Marti Reed says

              Here’s the WildlandFireLLC video about the deployment, described by the crew that deployed:

              Santiago Fire

              “Published on Mar 19, 2014
              “Fire Shelter Deployments: Stories and Common Insights” is a program developed by the US Forest Service Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) that will help you understand what you may experience in a fire shelter deployment.”

              http://youtu.be/hLRomIYWq5s

              • Robert the Second says

                Marti,

                For those of us in this line of work, the October 22, 2007 Santiago Fire “Shelter Deployment” by 12 La and/or Orange County MUNICIPAL firefighters was a complete joke, totally predictable, and therefore preventable and TOTALLY unnecessary.

                Below is a link of a California Division of Forestry (CDF – now called Cal Fire)’Green Sheet’ that goes through the detail of fuels, weather, topography, fire behavior, and a description of the event.

                http://hotlist.wildlandfire.com/printthread.php?t=2253&pp=10&page=2

                They were basically working on a spot fire across a paved road from the main fire, and while working this, their Lookout(s) reported a SECOND spot below them. There was also a fiasco of their hose being burned through. They were only SIXTY (60) FEET off the road.

                The report claims “The company officers then looked for other possible escape routes and immediately recognized the only escape route was over the steep cut bank (95% slope) on Santiago Canyon Road..”

                Notwithstanding the steep cut bank, this was TOTALLY predictable AND PREVENTABLE AND therefore avoidable. They had ‘BLACK’ that was small (25′ x 40′) but sufficient. When you watch the video, you can actually see them standing up there on the hill.

                This event was TOTALLY avoidable.

                • Robert the Second says

                  Another farce on this Santiago Fire shelter deployment and the Old Fire ‘Surrounded by Fire’ video clip posted by WTKTT is the claim that they were “TRAPPED IN A SAFETY ZONE.”

                  You CANNOT be ‘trapped in a SZ.’ Going to and utilizing a SZ is fighting fire, it’s okay, you’re NOT trapped. But you can be trapped and burned and likely killed if you get trapped on a fire without being in one (Safety Zone).

                • Marti Reed says

                  So. Being a newbie and all to this “how to fight a wildfire without risking getting yourself killed” stuff and all. And a student of it all.

                  And, although, after I’ve spent over a year studying the Yarnell Fire, and reading lots of stuff, and watching lots of videos, to the point where I can, at least here, write things that make it appear I know what I’m talking about….

                  There are still TONS of things I still don’t understand very well. And want to understand better. (because you just never know……)

                  You said, “Notwithstanding the steep cut bank, this was TOTALLY predictable AND PREVENTABLE AND therefore avoidable. They had ‘BLACK’ that was small (25′ x 40′) but sufficient. When you watch the video, you can actually see them standing up there on the hill.

                  This event was TOTALLY avoidable.”

                  I don’t know what you mean by that and I would really like to know.

                  How was it, in your mind, TOTALLY avoidable?

                  I’m really intrigued by the upstream convo with Rocksteady about Fire shelters and how the “pushing of them” has allowed the firefighters and the system to sacrifice real safety thinking and “just saying no,” on even more than a “boots on the ground” level.

                  So when you say this was TOTALLY avoidable, I’m thinking that you are thinking that if they weren’t playing the Shelters Game (it was photographically dramatic–a perfect media photoshoot), that would have forced them to have made this TOTALLY avoidable.

                  But, in lack of experience/knowledge, I don’t know what they should have done, instead, if that’s what they were intending to do.

                  What are you thinking?

  29. Elizabeth says

    Fred/RTS suggested below that the way to figure out if a dangerous downburst is likely to arrive is to wait and see if you get virga. If you get virga, you need to retreat, because there is a decent chance that you are minutes away from a dangerous downburst.

    Well, with all due respect, if that is honestly the BEST way to reliably figure out if you are going to get a downburst or if the cell is one of the many many many that are going to pose no threat to anyone, then I am surprised more folks are not killed on fires. If the way you anticipate downbursts is by waiting for the virga to arrive, after which you have – what, barely minutes to get out of the way – that’s kind of late notice, no? What if you – like Kenny Jordan – don’t have anywhere to GO that is within a few minute sprint?

    And, for those of you who are about to reply with “that is why GM should have stayed hunkered in the black,” you are forgetting two things:
    (1) Look at where Brian Frisby and Bucky Yowell were – they weren’t in a safety zone or in the black – and
    (2) How many downbursts NEVER materialize – if you want to fight fire in mid to late June in Arizona, you need to get used to working on days that might have a period of weather warning, both before and after which you will be working. The question is: How do you know how long to stay hunkered down and how do you know at what time you need to start hunkering? (On the Clear Creek Fire, Robert the Second’s crew was hunkered in the black as soon as the Assistant or Squad Bosses started feeling a bit uneasy about the spot(s), while Robert the Second instead remained OUTSIDE the black, yelling at his crew on the radio about something to the effect of “Am *I* going to be the only one out here fighting fire?” He obviously thought that his Assistant Supt. or Squad Boss(es) had pulled the crew into the black a bit too early, and, according to what I am being told, Robert the Second was *pissed.* So I find the comments that he makes on here about how easy it is to time things or pull the trigger and hunker down particularly ironic. The Payson guys who served under him on the Clear Creek Fire might beg to differ.)

    • Robert the Second says

      Elizabeth/Logical Phallacy,

      You make the assertion in the first paragraph that “There is no 100% reliable way to predict with certainty when a downburst (as opposed to a downdraft) is going to hit a fire, *IF* it is even going to do so.” Then you fallaciously follow up with your conclusion in the second paragraph as follows: “Meaning, there is no 100% reliable way to time whether a downburst will EVER show up and in what time frame it will arrive.”

      This is the FALLACY OF CIRCULAR REASONING or BEGGING THE QUESTION. This is defined as “to assume the truth of what one seeks to prove, in the effort to prove it.” This is in the Logical Fallacy section of any number of Introduction to Logic books and the Wikipedia definition as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

      Save your histrionics for the courtroom where you can fool and sway the ignorant.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Elizabeth (counselor) post on March 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      >> counselor said…
      >>
      >> Fred/RTS suggested below that the way to figure out if a dangerous
      >> downburst is likely to arrive is to wait and see if you get virga.

      He said no such thing.

      YOU are the one putting the word ‘virga’. into his mouth… which is just a continual demonstration that you don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about on this topic nor do you have the skills/ability to really understand it.

      VIRGA is rain that EVAPORATES before reaching the ground.

      If you are standing on the ground ‘feeling raindrops’… then its NOT VIRGA.

      The clips from the SAIR report I posted down below in an attempt to educate you ( if you even bothered to read them ) explain this very thing.

      **From PDF page 29 of the
      ** Yarnell Special Accident Investigation Report (SAIR)
      **Published September 28, 2013. ( 74 weeks ago )…
      —————————————————————————
      OUTFLOW WINDS

      When thunderstorms produce rain, hail, or VIRGA ( rain that EVAPORATES before reaching the ground ), strong DOWNDRAFT winds develop under the storm cloud. The DOWNDRAFTS turn horizontal when they reach the earth’s surface and become “outflow winds.” These winds can reach speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour. An outflow boundary, also called a gust front, is the leading edge of the outflow winds as they move away from the thunderstorms.
      ——————————————————————————–

      If you want to make positive contributions to this ongoing discussion… please confine your incessant ( and usually inane ) questions to topics that you ARE capable of understanding and stop wasting everyone’s time.

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        Thanks for your comments here. She refuses to listen to anything I say and continues to harp on the Clear Creek Fire even though former Sierra IHC Superintendent Ken Jordan has posted repeatedly on her own website that the Payson IHC and Superintendent safely accomplished their mission on that fire. And also her delusional accusations regarding “Fred,” another unhealthy obsession with her.

        She is all about utilizing the logical fallacies here in this forum. She continues to use the Ad Hominem Fallacy to attack the person rather than the argument presented. In the case of the ‘virga,’ she uses a Straw Man fallacy whereby an opposing argument is overstated or misrepresented in order to be more easily attacked or refuted. I originally mentioned “spritz” of rain and/or hail and she used ‘virga’ to counter it. So typical of her and attorneys in general.

        The ‘Logical Phallacy’ moniker that she uses from time-to-time is an indication to me that she has somewhat accurately labeled herself, yet the rather disturbing images of all kinds of perversion are very nauseating. Oh, perish the thought.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I participate in a LOT of forums like this… and there are ALWAYS the TROLLS… but I have to be honest and admit I’ve NEVER seen anything quite this bad.

          Even beyond the usual TROLL tactic of just pretending to ask a ‘simple’ question… and then everyone discovers that it’s just the same TROLL coming back and just pushing the same agenda and refusing to even ‘accept’ any valid ‘answers’ to the questions posed…

          …there is a very ‘disturbed’ element to this particular TROLL situation.

          There has ALWAYS been a serious ‘hidden agenda’, on her part.

          There is also this disturbing ‘didactic’ component whereby only she is ever on the ‘moral high ground’, combined with a personality that is obviously one of those people who can never admit they are WRONG about anything… and not just on public Internet forums, either. I am sure the people that have to deal with this personality in-person continually struggle with the same behavior.

          This is NOT any kind of attack. It’s just ‘analysis’ and a quick ‘skinny’ on previous experience with online TROLLS.

          I have also ( to be honest ) never seen a TROLL like this survive for this long in an ongoing discussion without the moderator BLOCKING any further posts.

          I am all for free speech… but there ARE times when it is SOOOO obvious that someone is, in fact, just a TROLL… and is ONLY trying to ‘disrupt’ and ‘obfuscate’ and ‘confuse’ ( the goal of most TROLLS ) that even the most stringent of moderators usually realizes it is not a good thing to allow that person to continue to post messages.

          Sort of like people getting up to speak at PUBLIC meetings.

          Everyone can/should have that right… but there are also times ( I’ve been in such public meetings ) when someone is obviously just bat-crap-crazy and they still keep trying to get up to the microphone and ‘make it all about them’ and just ‘disrupt’ an otherwise useful ( and necessary ) public meeting.

          It happens… and that’s when the person ultimately responsible for the overall productivity of the meeting has to step in and put a stop to it.

          Answering the incessant ( and inane ) questions from a TROLL is NEVER going to ‘solve the problem’.

          TROLLS are usually never looking for ‘answers’ at all.

          These are usually personality types that are NEVER interested in having their questions answered at all.

          They just use the *questions* to *appear* to be participating in the discussions in the hopes they will get to continue to pursue their own agenda(s) somewhere in the ‘replies’ to the inane questions.

          • Otis says

            I think the Troll is studying the inhabitants of this forum, with either a view to writing a book about it, or maybe submitting a dissertation so they can get a new “internet” degree/phd/letters after name/qualification that won’t be worth the digital ink it’s written in.

            All the troll has to do is introduce the right stimulus “so-and-so said 100%…” etc “you are him – he is you” etc and unfortunately someone from the forum bites. And another entry goes into the trolls book/dissertation.

            I am going to try my best to ignore the comments/questions and the disruption the troll is causing. The troll advances this discussion not a millimeter!

            I’m really happy that everyone else is in the forum, even now, great theories and ideas are pouring forth. Keep going guys, I know you will get there, you will find the reason all this happened, and the lessons to be learned.

      • Elizabeth says

        Thanks for your correction. Fred Schoeffler aka Robert the Second did not say virga. Dr. Brian Potter did.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Correct. He ( Potter ) first said it at +27:25 in his webinar.

          The firefighters in Harper Canyon and the Youth Camp area ( Captain Darby Starr included ) were feeling some ACTUAL raindrops… which means it was NOT VIRGA… nor can it be assumed the conditions were right for that.

          * Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center – WEBINARS – Feb 2015

          Column / Plume Dynamics
          Synthesis of Knowledge of Extreme Fire Behavior
          Brian Potter
          Research Meteorologist
          Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab
          USDA Forest Service

          This ‘webinar’ is 1 hour and 15 minutes and 16 seconds long.

          It consists of a 39 minute presentation by Brian Potter followed
          by a 36 minute Q/A session.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=552Spr6Rhbo&feature=youtu.be

  30. Elizabeth says

    Let’s try this again: There is no 100% reliable way to predict with certainty when a downburst (as opposed to a downdraft) is going to hit a fire, *IF* it is even going to do so. Unfortunately, if a fire is hit by a downburst, the impact can be far more unpredictable than if the fire is hit by simply a wind from the NE. A downburst (as I am understanding guys like Dr. Potter to use that term) is less linear in its impact.

    On the YHF, there was a radio warning of winds from the NE within the half hour. I do not recall anyone suggesting that GM was warned of downbursts, and, if GM was supposed to be on guard for them, please explain to me more about how they would have precisely timed them. Meaning, there is no 100% reliable way to time whether a downburst will EVER show up and in what time frame it will arrive.

    So what is a crew to do? Well, it appears from the pictures that GM did what was sensible: They sat down and watched the weather and talked to others. The question then becomes, how LONG should they have sat still? It is easy to say in hindsight that they should have kept sitting until at least 6 p.m., but they did not have the benefit of hindsight. As of 4 p.m., the lookouts were still out, and WFFs were not running for cover (see True Brown’s GPS as opposed to relying on unit logs for this – the times stated by folks in unit logs and interviews are not always particularly accurate).

    When GM left for the BSR, the fire was moving as a head fire not toward the BSR but, rather, toward the EAST – toward Shrine. If you look at Brendan McDonough’s 4:08 p.m. pictures, it actually appears that the wind is pushing more TOWARD the NE as of 4:08 p.m., which would suggest that the fire will continue moving more toward Shrine and not toward the BSR. What you do NOT see at 4:08 p.m. is the smoke column leaning toward the BSR, and my understanding is that the lean of the column can be a predictor.

    • Bob Powers says

      One Picture in this line of Pictures explains all the collapse of the smoke column to the ground
      covering the Flaming front. This is a serious indicator of a change in the wind.
      As said earlier the wind was getting Squirrely before 1600. The flames were dancing all over the place in those last pictures.

      • Elizabeth says

        Bob, Brendan’s 4:08 p.m. pictures were taken AFTER those pictures. So maybe go look at those 4:08 p.m. pictures, look at the direction of the smoke, and let me know if you see the smoke pushing to the North (indicating that the fire is moving to the north) the way that I do. If I am wrong, that’s fine. But, again, those 4:08 p.m. pictures are AFTER the Mckenzie pictures to which you are referring.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          What in the bloody hell are you blathering about now?

          There are NO Brendan McDonough photos with a timestamp of 4:08 PM.

          Please provide the exact filenames and locations in the public record of the photos you are NOW basing more of your ramblings on… so at least we have a CHANCE of understanding what the hell you are even TRYING to say.

          Are you talking about the three photos Brendan took with his iPhone out the driver’s window of the GM SUPT truck as he was part of the convoy moving the GM vehicles to the Youth Camp?

    • rocksteady says

      How long should have GM sat safe in the black?

      Easy answer Until They Could Move Safely to Their Next Target without Risk of Being Entrapped…

      How to figure when that is
      EASY ANSWER Once they have had enough time to observe fire behaviour, gather Intel from other sources (AA/bucket ships/sir tankers ) predict the timing of their next move, then decide on the chance of success. If there is not a high probability of success, then they “HUNKER AND STAY SAFE”

      Where have we heard that advice before?????

      • Elizabeth says

        Rocksteady, just to remind you, AirAttack had indicated to Marsh or GM that they had at least an hour or two. And the SAIT (I think!) seemed to indicate that maybe GM might have thought that they had already witnessed any likely worsening due to the winds when there was the big “wind shift” of which Air Attack was speaking to B33 and the fire changed direction at roughly 3:35 or so. So, at that point, GM was seeing a head fire to the due EAST at, say, roughly .75 mph, with only minimal lateral spread toward the BSR. With that type of fire behavior, it is easy to see why Cordes (and presumably GM) thought they had “plenty” of time to make it to the BSR. GM did not walk into the direct path of a head fire. Rather, they were more flanking the fire (which my friends who are WFFs in Arizona or in the SW tell me that plenty of WFFs in Arizona do throughout the season, provided they have a decent cushion of time and space and a lookout and such).

        Moreover, if Brendan McDonongh’s pictures show that, as of 4:08 p.m., the wind was now pushing more NORTH and Northeast, which would *not* push the fire toward the BSR, does that make the move more understandable? I don’t know – I’m still just thinking out loud.

        • rocksteady says

          The observations needed, as well as gathering Intel takes a period of time,not just making a decision at one specific point in time, such as you are stating, based on one picture at 4:08

          • Bob Powers says

            Let me be clear here——–
            My reference to the smoke laying down was to identify indicators of
            what the fire activity was at that point and what it was saying to Fire Fighters who were paying attention.

            At that time in the Mackenzie cell phone photos #9,10,11 it was obvious a wind was in fact active on the Fire and was laying the smoke to the south.

            The Flame was also moving toward the old grader site that can clearly be seen. Below and to the East of GM.

            The North wind slowly rotated to the NE and E in a period of time between 1600 and 1700 pushing the Fire toward the SW and West.
            West being the Weaver Mountains that the BSR sat at the base of.

            The collapse of the smoke column across the flats below the crew is a indicator of a erratic wind affect on the Fire. The wind is picking up and changing directions as the front affects the fire again this was a wind driven fire of 20 plus MPH winds. The weather forecast was happening all ready before the crew ever moved.

            When you have wind predictions of that high you do not ignore them you
            find a safe place and wait them out.

            The suggestion that AA said they had 1 to 2 Hours before the fire hit Yarnell should have been an indicator as that trigger was met in a half hour another indicator ignored.

            • Elizabeth says

              Rocksteady, I was not suggesting they based a decision on only one piece of intel! I was pointing out that the Mackenzie pictures were not the *only* piece of intel. We see in the later McDonough pictures at roughly 4:08 and in other pictures as well (later than the Mackenzie pictures) that the Mackenzie pictures were not the end-all of what the fire was doing. Meaning, if GM sat in the black and saw that the fire totally turned around, stopped moving east at all, and resumed moving back north with absolutely no lateral or flanking movement in any other direction, presumably GM could move to the BSR. I am not suggesting that that is what happened, but, rather, I *am* suggesting that looking at the Mackenzie pictures and saying “I would never leave the black, given those pictures,” does not consider what happened *after* those pictures. (By the way, Rocksteady, I am not suggesting that *YOU* said you’d never leave the black. Others have said that, however, based only on the Mackenzie photos, and I respectfully suggest that it does not make sense to fail to consider what happened in the roughly 25 minutes or so *after* those pictures were taken.)
              Anyway, thanks for your feedback, RS. Obviously in order to learn from this tragedy, we need to figure out what GM was seeing to try to figure out why it made sense – in 19 of their minds – for them to do what they did. No wildland firefighter *wants* to deploy and die, so obviously GM had a good reason for thinking that that was not likely to happen.

              • Robert the Second says

                Elizabeth/Logical Phallcy,

                Once again it was because of their habit of BAD DECISIONS WITH PRIOR GOOD OUTCOMES otherwise known as the RULE OF 99.

          • Elizabeth says

            Rocksteady, I was not suggesting they based a decision on only one piece of intel! I was pointing out that the Mackenzie pictures were not the *only* piece of intel. We see in the later McDonough pictures at roughly 4:08 and in other pictures as well (later than the Mackenzie pictures) that the Mackenzie pictures were not the end-all of what the fire was doing. Meaning, if GM sat in the black and saw that the fire totally turned around, stopped moving east at all, and resumed moving back north with absolutely no lateral or flanking movement in any other direction, presumably GM could move to the BSR. I am not suggesting that that is what happened, but, rather, I *am* suggesting that looking at the Mackenzie pictures and saying “I would never leave the black, given those pictures,” does not consider what happened *after* those pictures. (By the way, Rocksteady, I am not suggesting that *YOU* said you’d never leave the black. Others have said that, however, based only on the Mackenzie photos, and I respectfully suggest that it does not make sense to fail to consider what happened in the roughly 25 minutes or so *after* those pictures were taken.)
            Anyway, thanks for your feedback, RS. Obviously in order to learn from this tragedy, we need to figure out what GM was seeing to try to figure out why it made sense – in 19 of their minds – for them to do what they did. No wildland firefighter *wants* to deploy and die, so obviously GM had a good reason for thinking that that was not likely to happen.

            • rocksteady says

              Your last sentence is why we have been on here for 12 chapters, still without a good answer.

              That sentence could be posted as the maiden voyage statement in chapter I.

              • Elizabeth says

                🙂 Presumably that is why you are not among those who snark at me. Just saying these guys were “reckless” or they “ignored the weather” doesn’t deal with the fact that (a) none of them wanted to die and (b) hotshots who do not want to die tend NOT to ignore weather and (c ) GM would not have done what they did if they did not think they could safely do so.

                • rocksteady says

                  I prefer not to “snark”…. however, there have been/will be times that I will in order to get a point across.

                  A lot of the SNARK on here distracts from the true intent of the discussion.

                  Take the high road. Don’t snark too and maybe others will stop.

                  Not specifically aimed at any poster.

                  • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                    And some people deserve every bit of snark they get.

                    Especially TROLLS and/or people who keep trying to change the facts to fit their own theories.

                    Not specifically aimed at any particular poster.

    • Robert the Second says

      Elizabeth/Logical Phallacy,

      You stated “There is no 100% reliable way to predict with certainty when a downburst (as opposed to a downdraft) is going to hit a fire, *IF* it is even going to do so.”

      There actually is – and that is by watching the smoke column and feeling a “sprtiz of rain” or even light hail, indicating the downburst is approaching. The downbursts and downdrafts will push the smoke down, just as they did on the 1990 Dude Fire and on the YH Fire. Firefighters from the Sun City West FD utilized this technique to know when it was time for them to get out of the Shrine area. FF Darby Starr credited this indicator/warning technique to hearing about it at the AZ Wildland Fire Academy in Prescott when someone recounted the anecdote of how it was used SUCCESSFULLY on the 1990 Dude Fire. Starr recounted that day as follows: “He was talking about the weather conditions he was experiencing, the fire behavior he was seeing. He mentioned he got spritzed with rain, and that was just strange enough for him to turn around and go back the other direction. He had been headed right for the guys who were burned over,” Starr recalled. “At the Yarnell Hill fire, I started seeing that strange fire behavior.”

      http://www.scwfire.org/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={F4FE4EEB-5876-4E01-BCCB-669A006CABC1}&DE={3C56CA33-8D8E-40E0-858D-D1C62EEC0395}

      WTKTT also placed this same ‘otflow boundary’ warning above for ‘several WFF on the YH Fire’ above in his WantsToKnowTheTruth says February 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm post.

      Just accept the FACT that the GMHS had plenty of warning, yet they f***ed up and f***ed BAD and paid for it with their lives.

      • Robert the Second says

        The Sun City West article failed to post properly above so here it is below

        “Sun City West Fire District employee Darby Starr wins national honor Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        Sun City West firefighter Darby Starr accepts the VFW’s National Firefighter of the Year award from Post 10695 Cmdr. Jim Katzenberger at the SCW Fire District administration building.
        Sun City West firefighter Darby Starr accepts the VFW’s National Firefighter of the Year award from Post 10695 Cmdr. Jim Katzenberger at the SCW Fire District administration building.

        By Jeff Grant, DAILY NEWS-SUN Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014 7:42 am | Updated: 9:30 am, Fri Jul 18, 2014. –

        The spritz of rain was the final warning sign for Darby Starr.

        As the Fire District of Sun City West’s engine boss for wildlands fire assignments, Starr and three colleagues — one each from Sun City West, Peoria and Glendale — had seen the late-afternoon winds become terribly erratic as they helped fight the Yarnell Hill blaze on June 30, 2013. Starr noticed what seemed to be fire moving in the opposite direction of where it had been headed all day. He even thought he heard some claps of thunder.

        Then came the spritz of rain.

        “As soon as I felt that rain, that’s when I decided we needed to pull out,” he said.

        It was a decision colleagues believe prevented further loss of firefighter lives in the blaze that claimed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots in the deadliest day for U.S. Forest Service firefighting since 1933.

        It also earned Starr, 42, the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ National Firefighter of the Year Award, one of the VFW’s highest honors bestowed on public safety and public service workers throughout America. The VFW also recognizes police, paramedics and teachers each year, said Post 10695 Commander Jim Katzenberger following a ceremony Thursday honoring Starr at Sun City West Fire District headquarters.

        “These people directly serve our communities, and keep us safe and sound. They’re the backbones who hold our country together,” Katzenberger said.

        Starr, fellow Sun City West firefighter Coy Boggler and two others — one each from Peoria and Glendale — were part of a 10-member task force called to Yarnell Hill early the morning of June 29, 2013, to join other firefighters from throughout the state, including the Granite Hill team and the Blue Ridge Hotshots, fighting the blaze.

        Initially, the team thought it would be there for two days at most. Then, conditions deteriorated rapidly the afternoon of June 30. The unpredictable winds, intense heat and shift in fire movement left the Granite Mountain team with nowhere to go but their deployed fire shelters, where they were overrun by the flames and heat.

        Assigned to cut fireline between homes and the flames, the Brush 103 crew worked on, unaware at first of the Granite Mountain team’s plight but with Starr taking note of conditions and becoming increasingly concerned for the men’s safety.

        “I was at the front of the line, right against this hill. It was about 200 feet high. I kept watching fire that seemed to be moving in the opposite direction it had been moving all day. I set a ‘trigger point,’ which was when the fire topped the hill, it was time to go. Shortly after that, I heard thunder. I got that spritz in the face, I turned around, looked at the hill, and fire was over the hill. I told my guys, ‘Let’s go.’”

        As he led the team away from the scene along a planned escape route to a safety zone, the veteran of 20 years wildlands firefighting recalled conditions he had never seen.

        “I’d never experienced that kind of fire heat. I’d never seen fire heat so violent. It was astonishing to see exactly how violent this could be and the rate it was moving at. Even in our safety zone, we were crouching behind our truck because of the heat waves we were getting.”

        Another veteran Sun City West firefighter and paramedic, Coy Boggler, recalled his team’s leader’s calm under “immense pressure,” instructing the crew to remain together as it made its way through dense brush toward the truck.

        “The fire and smoke bore down on us, creating an incredibly tense trek. Captain Starr remained calm and collected. Had Captain Starr not ordered our expedited retreat to the truck, I believe we may have been trapped and would have to deploy our shelters,” Boggler stated in a written report.

        “Both of the other two firefighters and myself feel Captain Starr prevented a second tragedy.”

        It was not until the next morning that the Brush 103 crew would learn officially that their colleagues from Granite Mountain had perished, although Starr said a lack of information on their status during the tense late-afternoon hours June 30 raised suspicions that something had gone wrong.

        Starr credited experience and training for his decision-making, including a story from a wildfire academy earlier last year, part of the Sun City West’s year-round wildlands-firefighter training.

        As the academy director addressed his class, he discussed June 1990’s Dude Fire near Payson, which killed six firefighters and until Yarnell Hill had stood as the worst loss of firefighter life in Arizona wildlands firefighting history.

        “He was talking about the weather conditions he was experiencing, the fire behavior he was seeing. He mentioned he got spritzed with rain, and that was just strange enough for him to turn around and go back the other direction. He had been headed right for the guys who were burned over,” Starr recalled. “At the Yarnell Hill fire, I started seeing that strange fire behavior.”

        SCW Assistant Fire Chief Tim Van Scoter, another veteran wildlands firefighter, said Starr’s actions reflect on his leadership and recognize the kind of work done by many district members throughout the year.

        “Firefighters don’t look for this recognition. It’s nice when it comes. That’s not why they did what they did that day. They didn’t even know it was going to be submitted.”

        “I’m very honored,” said Starr. “We were just doing our job. I don’t feel like I did anything extraordinary. But to be recognized by my friends, my co-workers and the VFW is an honor,” he said.

        An organization formed 115 years ago to provide social, financial and emotional care to veterans returning from combat, the VFW includes 10,000 posts throughout the world. Each nominates an individual for the organization’s annual awards. Recipients are selected after careful review in a several-step process, said Katzenberger.”

    • Robert the Second says

      Calvin,

      I think it was you that requested a YouTube clip showing crews in a SZ as the fire burned around them, This one will have to suffice until I find the precise one I’ve been searching for.

      This is a video clip of the August 13, 2007 Cascade Complex on the Boise NF in central Idaho. This is video of the fire actually burning AROUND the Fire Camp. The IMT and the ensuing highly biased Investigative Report used the euphemism of a “Burn Around” – a first – to cover for the IMT’s incompetence. Numerous Crews and Overhead had told the IMT that the Fire Camp was in direct alignment when the numerous fires surrounding the Fire Camp grew together on several occasions, but to no avail. These fires eventually did grow together and align with the Cascade Complex Fire Camp just as the Crews and Overhead had accurately predicted. The Fire Camp in this case was in essence a SZ and a quite large one at that, so you’ll get the idea as you watch it.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLJYigWchf0

      Someone even had T-shirts made of the event and the IC was quick to stop the sale of them as quickly as he could to quell any further embarrassment to him and his IMT for NOT heeding the accurate and timely warnings.

  31. calvin says

    Bob said

    I believe we were discussing with Calvin using the Black as the number 1 SZ used by Fire Fighters and retreated to quite often ..

    Never got to where he was going on that discussion. or if it related back to GM and their decision to leave the Black.

    Bob, Thanks

    I was just saying that I (as a nonWFF) I am looking for video evidence of a hotshot crew, sitting in the black as extreme fire behavior rages around them.

    Bob said

    Like the pictures of GM at their break spot in the black. If they had stayed there they probably would have got some interesting pictures—-OR A LOT OF SMOKE and nothing else—–

    See above. It just seems like other hotshot crews (better than GMH?) would have posted those videos as extreme fires raged upon their SZ. As you say either the images are truly amazing, or, they are smoke filled. I agree that the smoke filled images would NOT make you tube. The other ACTION videos, should make “the cut”

    I guess I am wondering, all things consider ,WHY GM were expected to be fighting the fire DIRECT, while the other resources were going INDIRECT?

    • Robert the Second says

      Calvin,

      You asked why GMHS was expected to go DIRECT while all others were expected to go INDIRECT.

      The GMHS were going direct because they could. The piece of line they were assigned to had made its run(s) and ‘laid down’ enough were they could go direct, right on the fire’s edge. Others that had to go indirect didn’t have those opportunities because the fireline was too active and/or too hot to work right on the fire’s edge. One of the issues with indirect line is that it must be fired out in order to be safe and effective.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Marsh/Steed were also FORCED to go direct.

        There original PLAN ( and the one they were actually executing when they all arrived on on the ridge ) was to go INDIRECT and ‘tie in’ the black that was there with the two-track road. That’s exactly what they started doing.

        Air Attack Rory Collins didn’t like what he was seeing… and he directed two SEATS to drop retardant directly on GM’s indirect burnouts… FORCING them to change tactics and then go DIRECT.

        ADOSH was never able to either contact or interview the elusive Mr. Rory Collins.

        PDF page 23 of the SAIR…

        Timeframe: 9:00 AM – Before GM hikes to the ridge.

        Lookout ( Brendan McDonough ) later recounts: the weather would be “superhot and windy,” structures are threatened, and escape routes will be into the black or back to the carriers. The lookout also recalls the crew’s assignment is to establish an anchor point, then determine whether to go direct along the black or to go indirect and burn off a two-track road.

        PDF page 24 of the SAIR…

        Timeframe: Circa 11:00 AM

        On the east side, fire activity picks up a bit and the rest of the crew slowly burns off adjacent to the two-track road, keeping pace with the fire.

        As the Granite Mountain IHC continues its burnout, DIVS A and Air Attack discuss options. Air Attack directs two SEAT drops at 1136 and 1145 directly onto the burnout. DIVS A is frustrated. This is not what he wanted but he has Granite Mountain IHC shift tactics and go direct along the fire’s edge.

    • Bob Powers says

      A good question on their assignment——–
      The fire had laid down to out across the area they were assigned line needed to be built
      along the black edge from an anchor point to tie in with the Eastern side of the fire.
      There was no way on the side hill to put dozer line with all the rocks. So a Hand Crew Job.

      They could have made better time had the Air Attack allowed them to burn out areas as they went. Fire dose not burn in a strait line so you have figure burning by cutting across from finger to finger and burning the live fuel pockets in-between you can make better progress on the line construction. In other words 1 chain of line and burn out verses following the black around building 6 chains of line.

      In order to contain the Fire a crew or crews needed to get hand line in on the open line.
      One thing we discussed earlier was according to line construction charts 1 hot shot crew
      could not construct the line in the shift they had and the assignment given them.

      Hanging out constructing Line up on the mountain if the fire got under them all they had to do was retreat to the Black.

      They could no longer build line at 1530 as the fire was loose and starting to wrap around and eventually go across under them their hand line was totally compromised at the time they were at the break spot in the Black.

      So many Fire Fighters like my self and others on here and not on here look at the same thing we have seen in our carriers and question WHY would GM leave a good black Safety Zone
      in that situation. Sooner or later that flaming front they were looking at was going to move across the landscape below them. All the known and trained for indicators were there
      Serious bells and warnings going off and yet they moved ignoring all the signs and Safety measures.

  32. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** WHAT ADOSH IS DEMANDING TO SEE FROM ARIZONA FORESTRY

    This is a quick ‘breakdown of what is actually in that legal document which just appeared in the ADOSH ALJ hearing file… which represents the latest legal action in the case of Arizona Forestry trying to contest the ADOSH citations.

    That latest document ( updated February 23, 2015 ) is here…

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6N47Z5CNR-CV3cyRkdFcmk2cG8/edit?pli=1

    What we are seeing now in this ALJ Hearing file is the ADOSH lawyers making specific “Production of Document” requests to Arizona Forestry, and Arizona Forestry now has ‘objections’ to ALL of those requests and is filing legal documents to that effect and informing ALJ Judge Michael A. Moseso.

    This is a SHORTENED version of that document for the purposes of just making it clear what ADOSH is now ASKING Arizona Forestry to produce.

    Even just the REQUESTS from ADOSH are ‘telling a story’ and indicating the ADOSH lawyers know about some things that aren’t really public information yet.

    NOTE: In these legal documents… Arizona Forestry refers to ITSELF using the acronym ASFD ( Arizona State Forestry Division ).

    The FIRST part of the document is simply where Arizona Forestry is telling Judge Mosesso that they object ‘in general’ to ALL of the requests because they say they are ‘vague’ and ‘burdensome’ and ‘not likely to lead to admissible evidence’… yada… yada… yada.

    Nothing unusual there. Just the usual lawyer bullshit you expect to see associated with ‘Requests for Production of Documents’ filings.

    —————————————————————————–
    RESPONDENT’S ( Arizona Forestry’s ) RESPONSES
    TO COMPLAINANT’S ( ADOSH’s ) FIRST SET OF REQUESTS
    FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS.

    ( Case assigned to the Honorable Michael A. Mosesso )

    * General ASFD objections being applied to ALL of the requests…

    Respondent ( ASFD ) generally objects to EACH of the requests herein to the extent that each request seeks information or documentation shielded from disclosure by any applicable privilege, including the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrine.

    Respondent (ASFD) also generally objects to EACH of the requests herein as vague, overly broad, unduly burdensome, compound, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
    ———————————————————————————-

    Okay… that’s pretty much the ‘411’ for Arizona Forestry’s GENERAL OBJECTIONS which they will then repeat ( ad inifintium ) along with each and every ADOSH ‘Request for Production of Documents’.

    Now here is the SHORT list of those requests from ADOSH without the repeated ‘general objections’… and only the ‘specific’ objections to each of ADOSH’s requests.

    Actually… here is the SHORT-SHORT list of those ADOSH ‘Document Production’ requests…

    01 – A privileged response log file.
    02 – Entire ASFD file related to Yarnell Fire.
    03 – Entire ASFD file related to ADOSH citations.
    04 – All documents internal to ASFD related to Yarnell Fire.
    05 – All documents internal to ASFD related to ADOSH citations.
    06 – All intergovernmental agreements for all agencies at Yarnell.
    07 – All documents related to Yarnell worker’s comp injury and death claims.
    08 – All documents reviewed/relied upon by ASFD relating to citations.
    09 – All documents related to ASFD’s relationship with Dr. Tom Zimmerman.
    10 – All information ASFD relied on to even contest ADOSH citations.
    11 – All information about why ASFD claims it didn’t know full situation in Yarnell.
    12 – All correspondence between ASFD, Scott Hunt, and SAIT team.
    13 – All presentations ASFD knows about… including Mike Dudley’s in Utah.
    14 – All documents related to ASFD Dispatch Center radio recording capability.
    15 – All mobilization plans between ASFD and other public agencies for 2013.

    Some very interesting ones are…

    ** 09 – All documents related to ASFD’s relationship with Dr. Tom Zimmerman.

    This is revealing. It proves that ADOSH already knows that Arizona Forestry has been relying heavily on this Dr. Tom Zimmerman guy… and seem to have him on payroll to help them fight ADOSH.

    This Zimmerman guy is currently head of the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF).

    More about him later. He has (apparently) been ‘secretly’ advising Arizona Forestry about how to handle the Yarnell incident from day one… and he runs in the same circles as US Forestry employee and SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley.

    But Zimmerman was NOT ever listed as being involved with the actual SAIT investigation.

    ** 13 – All presentations ASFD knows about… including Mike Dudley’s in Utah.

    ADOSH already knows all about this infamous presentation of Mike Dudley’s to that roomful of firefighters in Utah on June 20, 2014. This the one where Dudley was revealing that the SAIT itself knew a LOT more than ever appeared in any report or in their own investigation notes… including the ‘multiple people’ that reported hearing this ‘argument’ between Marsh and Steed.

    ADOSH wants to know ‘all about it’… and what OTHER ‘presentations’ to ‘roomfuls of firefighters’ might have gone on of a similar nature.

    ** 14 – All documents related to ASFD Dispatch Center radio recording capability.

    ADOSH knows that this whole issue of whether Arizona Forestry’s Dispatch Center still has radio recordings that might have never seen the light of day yet has never been fully resolved… and they want all the documents related to this and the Dispatch Center’s actual capabilities.

    So here is now just the SHORT list… with each FULL request from ADOSH and just the specific objections ( other than the general bullshit ) being claimed by Arizona Forestry…

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 1
    ** Produce a privilege log for Respondent’s ( ASFD’s ) interrogatory responses
    ** and its responses to requests for production.

    Respondent (ASFD) objects to preparing a privilege log that individually lists communications prepared by or sent to or from the Attorney General’s Office or outside counsel, as those documents are undeniably privileged.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 2
    ** Produce the entire file of the Arizona State Forestry Division
    ** regarding the Yarnell Hill Fire of June 28, 2013 to July 10, 2013.

    Arizona State Forestry Division (ASFD) has previously produced to ADOSH many of the documents in ASFD’s possession for the timeframe requested. Submitted concurrently herewith are emails between ASFD employees and to and from ASFD employees to third parties. See documents bates numbered ( List of ASF0000xxxx documents is then supplied in the text ).

    In addition, ASFD has three (3) large boxes of files relating to the the Incident Management Team. The documents are available for review during normal business hours.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 3
    ** Produce the entire file of the Arizona State Forestry Division
    ** regarding ADOSH’s Inspection Number L3419-317242683

    Respondent (ASFD) has not kept a “file” relating to the Inspection and has only the documents given by ADOSH. Some communications with ADOSH can be found in the documents provided on DVD with this production as set forth in ASFD’s Response to Request for Production #1.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 4
    ** Produce all documents and recordings reflecting communications among or
    ** documents sent to, received by, possessed by, or reviewed by the Arizona State
    ** Forestry Division in connection with the Yarnell Hill Fire.

    See response to Request Nos. 2 and 3.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 5
    ** Produce all documents reflecting communications among or documents sent to,
    ** received by, or reviewed by the Arizona State Forestry Division in connection with
    ** the citations arising out of Inspection Number L3419-317242683.

    See response to Request Nos. 2 and 3.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 6
    ** Produce all documents reflecting intergovernmental agreements with agencies who
    ** appeared at, assisted with, or participated in suppressing the Yarnell Hill Fire of
    ** June 28, 2013, to July 10, 2013.

    See list of agreements with the various agencies, bates numbered ASF 000900/ADOSH through ASF 000903/ADOSH. As the list is extensive please advise ASFD of which agreements ADOSH would like and ASFD will work to provide ADOSH with the agreements.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 7
    ** Produce all documents, claims, notices of claim status, and notices of death benefits
    ** involving worker’s compensation benefits for any firefighter, or family member of a
    ** firefighter arising from the deaths or injuries suffered during the Yarnell Hill Fire of
    ** June 28, 2013 to July 10, 2013.

    Respondent (ASFD) is still working to obtain the information and information will be provided when obtained. ASFD does not possess documents relating to workers compensation claims or benefits for the firefighters or firefighter’s families.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 8
    ** Produce all documents reviewed by or relied upon by the Arizona State Forestry Division
    ** concerning the citations arising from Inspection Number L3419-317242683.

    See responses to Requests No. 2, 3, 5, and 6. See also documents provided on DVD and bates numbered ( List of document names ). In addition, ASFD is in the latter stages of the preparation of a comprehensive atlas consisting of a set of maps and indicies depicting the location and direction of the fire and the location of the resources assigned to the fire at selected times on June 30, 2013.ASFD will produce those documents upon completion.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 9
    ** Produce all documents received from or sent to Dr. Tom Zimmerman by the Arizona
    ** State Forestry Division and all communications between the Arizona State Forestry
    ** Division and Dr. Tom Zimmerman including but not limited to those regarding his fee
    ** arrangement with Arizona State Forestry Division, hours billed, and compensation paid.

    ASFD has sent Mr. Zimmerman the SAIT report, the ADOSH Citations, Inspection Worksheets, Inspection Narrative, and the Wildland Fire Associates Report, all of which have been produced.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 10
    ** Provide all statutes, standards, case law, and reference materials relied upon to
    ** deny that Arizona State Forestry Division committed the citations issued as a
    ** result (sic) ADOSH Inspection L3419-317242683.

    ADOSH’s Request for Production is objectionable because it seeks material protected at this stage of the case by the attorney work product doctrine and is premature. ADOSH has not produced sufficient discovery to justify its allegations and Respondent (ASFD) obviously has the opportunity to identify and present all of its documents and authority in response to ADOSH’s allegations. In addition, the request is objectionable to the extent that it seeks documents that have been printed utilizing Westlaw or other copyrighted services, as photocopying the documents might infringe upon the copyright interest or subscription terms for such services. In a timely manner and in conformance with the normal procedural process of litigating OSHA cases, Respondent (ASFD) will provide appropriate arguments and authority as the briefing in this case occurs.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 11
    ** Provide any and all written or recorded documents upon which you rely that Arizona
    ** State Forestry Division did not know that suppression of extremely active chaparral
    ** fuels was ineffective, that Arizona State Forestry Division did not know that the wind
    ** would push active fire towards non-defensible structures, and that Arizona State
    ** Forestry Division did not know that that firefighters working downwind needed to
    ** be promptly removed from exposure to smoke inhalation, burns, and death.

    ASFD hereby requests that ADOSH re-word the Request so ASFD can determine the documentation sought by ADOSH in Request No. 11.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 12
    ** Provide any and all written or recorded documents to and from Arizona State
    ** Forestry, Arizona State Forester Scott Hunt, or his agents with the Serious
    ** Accident Investigation Team (SAIT) or any of its members including
    ** but not limited to direction, advice, warnings, and the focus for SAIT’s
    ** investigation of the Yarnell Hill Fire of June 28, 2013, to July 10, 2013.

    See documents provided on DVD, bates numbered ( list of document names ).

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 13
    ** Provide any and all written or recorded documents of any presentation by SAIT
    ** or any of its members , the Arizona State Forestry Division, or any of its employees
    ** including but not limited to the presentation to the families of the deceased
    ** members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, the presentation to the Greater Salt
    ** Lake Unified Authority, and the presentation by Jerry Payne.

    The members of the SAIT Team were not employees of ASFD. ASFD does not have possession of written or recorded documents other than what ASFD has already produced and documents in ADOSH’s possession that have been produced to ASFD. ASFD also does not have possession of any presentations by SAIT team members. SAIT did a presentation for the GMIHC family members, but ASFD did not record the presentation, nor does it have knowledge of a recording of the presentation. ASFD has no knowldege of the presentation to the Greater Salt Lake Unified Authority, as it was not presented by ASFD. Jerry Payne has not made a presentation during the time period of at least five years prior to the Yarnell Hill Fire through the present. ADOSH provided ASFD with a presentation from Mike Dudley, an employee of the US Forest Service, on September 30, 2014.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 14
    ** Provide any and all written or recorded documents on, the recording equipment at
    ** the Arizona State Forestry Division’s dispatch center including but not limited to
    ** documentation on its condition, operating abilities, and the decision not to repair or
    ** replace the equipment.

    ASFD Dispatch is not a 911 disptatching operation and is not required to record any conversations. In addition, because of bandwidth issues, once a local team takes over the fire, the Dispatching office does not listen to the conversations in many cases. Otherwise, the ASFD Dispatch would have potentially an enormous number of people on the radios at once, degrading the frequencies. Logs are used to reflect who radioed Dispatch and what the person communicated. ASFD has been advised that BLM funded a Rascal Radio recorder that failed sometime in March, 2013. Prior to March, 2013, ASFD had recorded radio and fire reporting lines with loaned radio recorders.

    ** ADOSH – REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 15
    ** Produce for (sic) mobilization plans or any other documents from State Forestry
    ** to other public agencies for 2013.

    Respondent responds as follows ( List of documents alread provided ).

    END OF ‘REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION’ DOCUMENT SUMMARY

  33. Marti Reed says

    Since this is so OBVIOUS to me, I want to bring this to the top.

    I said on FEBRUARY 28, 2015 AT 11:04 PM:

    “Elizabeth said:

    Marti, down below, Rocksteady, who is actually an FBAN (or the equivalent up north), noted that it is not unusual for a forecast to be WRONG. ‘

    Gimme a break, counselor (who is not a meteorologist nor a FBAN}.

    I was RAISED by a friggin’ meteorologist who forecasted the weather for the ENTIRE Atmospheric Nuclear Testing Program and the International Balloon Fiesta, both of which had …….
    LIVES AT STAKE!

    We talked CONSTANTLY about the uncertainties related to forecasting the weather.

    You don’t have to tell me that Rocksteady says forecasts can be wrong.

    I ALREADY know that!!!

    That being said, after about a year and a half of looking at this fire, in my opinion, there was NOTHING in the forecasts that came from Flagstaff to the people on this fire that……..was……..

    WRONG.

    The fire behaved EXACTLY as it shoulda woulda. given the Flagstaff weather forecast.

    So much so that Chuck Maxwell, at the Albuquerque GACC office was seriously UPSET, thinking he REALLY needed to (against protocols) INTERVENE directly into what was happening because…………

    he didn’t believe the FIREFIGHTERS were taking the WEATHER FORECASTS SERIOUSLY enough.

    It wasn’t the weather forecasts that FAILED.

    It was the HUMANS on the fire that FAILED.”

    • Marti Reed says

      I’m seriously open to someone reliably proving me wrong.

      Even though tomorrow I will be fully engaged in my mom’s memorial service and probably won’t be able to reply to anybody’s replies to me until Monday.

      • Robert the Second says

        Marti,

        You’re doing just fine, keep up the good work. You are right on point with these statements: “It wasn’t the weather forecasts that FAILED. It was the HUMANS on the fire that FAILED.” The GMHS was NOT heeding the blatantly obvious weather warnings.

        Elizabeth/Logical Phallacy chooses to be selectively ignorant in order to continue to pursue her delusional agenda. Until she either leaves this site or seeks the mental health therapy she so desperately needs she will not change. She enjoys trying to suck the life out of those that disagree with her.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Marti Reed post on March 1, 2015 at 12:00 am

      >> Marti said…
      >>
      >> It wasn’t the weather forecasts that FAILED.

      Of course not.

      >> Mart also said…
      >>
      >> It was the HUMANS on the fire that FAILED.

      Unfortunately… yes.

      The TROLL know as ‘Elizabeth’ ( counselor ) is probably going to continue to push her misguided agenda about how could anyone expect these professional WFF firefighters to have known about all the things that good professional WFF firefighters SHOULD have anticipated in order to stay alive… but it’s a dead-end street.

      You can actually take ALL the ‘forecasting’ and throw it out the window… and there is STILL proof that the LEADERSHIP of Granite Mountain just “wasn’t paying attention”.

      According to the SAIT itself… at 1615 ( 4:15 PM ) Granite Mountain was STILL just hiking SOUTH on that high-ridge two-track and STILL had the BEST VIEW OF THE FIRE and what it was now DOING than anyone in the entire area… except for the guys up in the airplanes.

      At the SAME TIME… ( 1615 / 4:15 PM ) Blue Ridge Captain Trueheart Brown says that ALL of the weather events and fire behaviors that would eventually kill those men were ALREADY HAPPENING.

      ** From Blue Ridge Captain Trueheart Brown’s Unit Log…

      ———————————————-
      1615 – OUTFLOWS begin. Fire starts to increase ROS DRAMATICALLY moving to the SOUTH… VERY QUICKLY and SPOTTING. (xxxxxxx) the thunderstorm has significant DOWNDRAFTS 20+ MPH and these are DRAMATICALLY increasing fire behavior, PUSHING things to the SOUTH.
      ———————————————

      In that SAME time period ( prior to and during the FF evacuation sequence ) SPGS1 Gary Cordes testified to ADOSH that the fire was ALREADY ‘spotting ahead of itself to the SOUTH’ at least a HALF-MILE.

      Again… ( according to the SAIT ) this would have been BEFORE those men even decided to walk down a dangerous fuel-choked drainage chute into an equally dangerous box-canyon filled with explosive fuel with the fire now MUCH less than a mile away.

      So at 1615 ( 4:15 PM )… no weather FORECASTING was needed.

      If they ( the leadership of Granite Mountain ) weren’t aware of what was happening… it isn’t because this kind of fire behavior is ‘unpredictable’.

      It was ALREADY HAPPENING… even BEFORE some critical decisions were made.

      No ‘predictions’ or ‘assumptions’ required.

      They died because they weren’t paying proper attention to their circumstances, following all the rules of their profession… OR bothering to properly consult with other GROUND and AIR resources.

      THAT is the story that the EVIDENCE tells us or anyone who bothers to look at it.

      There is still a ‘gross negligence’ component involved here that isn’t going to just ‘go away’.

  34. calvin says

    BOB says

    I believe we were discussing with Calvin using the Black as the number 1 SZ used by Fire Fighters and retreated to quite often ..

    Never got to where he was going on that discussion. or if it related back to GM and their decision to leave the Black.

    Bob, Thanks

    I was just saying that I (as a nonWFF) I am looking for video evidence of a hotshot crew, sitting in the black as extreme fire behavior rages around them.

    Bob said

    Like the pictures of GM at their break spot in the black. If they had stayed there they probably would have got some interesting pictures—-OR A LOT OF SMOKE and nothing else—–

    See above. It just seems like other hotshot crews (better than GMH?) would have posted those videos as extreme fires raged upon their SZ. As you say either the images are truly amazing, or, they are smoke filled. I agree that the smoke filled images would NOT make you tube. The other ACTION videos, should make “the cut”

    I guess I am wondering, all things consider ,WHY GM were expected to be fighting the fire DIRECT, while the other resources were going INDIRECT?

  35. calvin says

    Elizabeth said

    One of GM’s tasks was to secure the EAST flank of the fire. Presumably they could only do that if the fire was to the WEST of them, no?

    Are you saying that at 4pm and beyond GM were still trying to keep the fire to the west of them?

    • Elizabeth says

      Calvin, I’m so sorry – I seem to have confused things in trying to make the point that there was seemingly no wind that ever arrived from the NE at 40 mph. My point was this: “The only point I was trying to think through is this: If you look at where the fireline was at 3:52 p.m.-ish in Chris Mckenzie’s pictures, and you hit that fire with a 40 mph wind from the NE, it is going to push the fire to the SW. Take the fireline as it exists at 3:52-ish p.m., and reverse it to the SW. Is the BSR in that line of push to the SW? Not as I am seeing it. As I am seeing it, if that predicted 40 mph NE wind had hit the fire as it existed in the Mckenzie pictures, it would have pushed the fire AWAY from the BSR. No?”

      Sorry for the confusion. (If your question remains, I can try to answer it, but that was not the direction in which I was going. Sorry!)

  36. Robert the Second says

    Moving these to the top here rather than have them separately ‘lost in the weeds.’

    rocksteady says February 28, 2015 at 10:44 am

    “Any decent wff/crew boss/DIV sup/ops/ic always have MORE THAN 1 ESCAPE ROUTE OF PLAN B.” (EMPHASIS ADDED)

    In response Elizabeth says February 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

    ” …. Also, NOBODY appears to have had FOUR POSSIBLE ESCAPE ROUTES PLANNED (based on what I am reading in the materials I have obtained). … I CAN TELL YOU FOR SURE THAT DID NOT HAPPEN ON THE YHF WITH ANY CREW OR TASK FORCE OR WHATEVER FOR WHOM I HAVE RECORDS.” (EMPHASIS ADDED)

    So, breaking this down, Rocksteady mentions the common use of only ONE ALTERNATIVE ESCAPE ROUTE OR PLAN B. Yet, in typical Elizabeth/Logical Phallacy fashion, she declares that BASED ON HER RECORDS … nobody (Crew or Task Force) had “FOUR POSSIBLE ESCAPE ROUTES PLANNED.” That’s quite an impermissible leap or non-sequitor to go from ONE ESCAPE ROUTE TO FOUR POSSIBLE ESCAPE ROUTES.” Rocksteady mentions only ONE and then Elizabeth/Logical Phallacy fallaciously increases the number and comes back with FOUR. So, she is correct in that NOBODY had FOUR POSSIBLE ESCAPE ROUTES PLANNED. How do you do that? You just seem to make it all up as you go or what?

    Regarding the “UNFAIR TO THE DECEASED” argument. They are deceased because of their poor decisions and actions. They failed to follow the most BASIC WFF Rules of LCES and left a perfectly good SZ at the worst possible time WITHOUT a REQUIRED LOOKOUT. In other words, Bad Decisions With Prior Good Outcomes. In order to truly benefit from Lessons Learned and determine WHY this happened, we must always delve into uncomfortable and controversial areas to accomplish that. Political correctness has NO place in these matters. I’m with Marti on this one and also “find that attitude to be quite OFFENSIVELY PATRONIZING.”

    Regarding the Wildland Fire LLC webinar on Downdrafts and such, researcher Brian Potter, talking primarily about Plume Dominated Fires, mentions in his “Profound Closing Remarks” segment at 38:23 that “LOOKOUTS AND SITUATIONAL AWARENESS ARE THE BEST, SOMETIMES THE ONLY, TOOLS AVAILABLE TO ASSESS PLUME DEVELOPMENT.” (ALL EMPHASIS ADDED).

    First off, the YH Fire was NOT a Plume Dominated fire, but was instead a WIND DRIVEN fire driven laterally by very intense outflow winds. The GMHS had the absolute BEST view of the entire YH Fire all day on 30 June 2013, therefore, they SHOULD have had the BEST LOOKOUT SITE AND THE BEST SITUATIONAL AWARENESS of anyone on the entire YH Fire in order to assess the fire plume development and the current and expected fire behavior (Fire Orders #3 and #5) Yet, they made an epic, fatal mistake to leave their perfectly good SZ at the worst possible time, and walk through unburned fuels in chimneys and chutes and ultimately into an unburned, fuel choked bowl, and into the head of the fire approaching the BSR and Yarnell..

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Robert the Second (RTS) post on February 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      >> RTS said…
      >>
      >> Regarding the “UNFAIR TO THE DECEASED” argument. They are deceased
      >> because of their poor decisions and actions. They failed to follow the most
      >> BASIC WFF Rules of LCES and left a perfectly good SZ at the worst possible
      >> time WITHOUT a REQUIRED LOOKOUT.

      Regardless if ANY other details emerge, even from KEY witnesses that we now KNOW have always been HIDING information from investigators… that is what the current EVIDENCE record tells us ( or anyone who bothers to look at it ).

      >> RTS also said…
      >>
      >> In other words, Bad Decisions With Prior Good Outcomes.

      Very possible. As hard as it might be for some people to ultimately accept… it really might turn out that the behavior and the leadership decision making exhibited that day ( which so many other professional WFFs have always been finding inexplicable ) was simply NORMAL behavior for that particular unit… but this time the slot-machine came up all-lemons.

      Lesson to Learn?

      FIND/IDENTIFY other similar organizations with similar attitudes and practices on the part of the leadership… and REPLACE that leadership before more people get KILLED.

      If it’s TRAINING issues… FIX it.
      If it’s CERTIFICATION issues… FIX it.
      If it’s HIRING / PROMOTIONAL issues… FIX it.
      If it’s CULTURAL issues… FIX it.

      Common denominator: FIX it.

      >> RTS also said…
      >>
      >> In order to truly benefit from Lessons Learned and determine WHY this
      >> happened, we must always delve into uncomfortable and controversial
      >> areas to accomplish that. Political correctness has NO place in these
      >> matters. I’m with Marti on this one and also “find that attitude to be
      >> quite OFFENSIVELY PATRONIZING.”

      Only the TRUTH can lead to any kind of real UNDERSTANDING.

      And only UNDERSTANDING can lead to the best chance of it never happening again.

      I haven’t heard ANYONE yet say ( even the people just riding the political and emotional rails ) say “I hope this happens again sometime”.

      >> RTS also said…
      >>
      >> The YH Fire was NOT a Plume Dominated fire,

      No. It was not… even though some personnel on the ground there actually THOUGHT it was.

      One of the WFFs on the Sun City Crew was heard to shout out ( during one of the Jerry Thompson videos )…

      “Plume dominated fire!”

      He was one of the ‘lookouts’ there about 1/2 mile south of the Shrine Road area that failed to give anyone in the Youth Camp or Harper Canyon area any actual warnings at all.

      He was UNDERNEATH the column at that time… and was just making assumptions.

      >> RTS also said…
      >>
      >> …but was instead a WIND DRIVEN fire driven laterally by very intense outflow winds.

      That is what the EVIDENCE has always shown.

      >> RTS also said…
      >>
      >> The GMHS had the absolute BEST view of the entire YH Fire all day
      >> on 30 June 2013, therefore, they SHOULD have had the BEST LOOKOUT
      >> SITE AND THE BEST SITUATIONAL AWARENESS of anyone on the
      >> entire YH Fire in order to assess the fire plume development and the
      >> current and expected fire behavior (Fire Orders #3 and #5)

      According to the SAIT itself… at 1615 ( 4:15 PM ) Granite Mountain was STILL just hiking SOUTH on that high-ridge two-track and STILL had ( as you say ) the BEST VIEW OF THE FIRE and what it was now DOING than anyone in the entire area… except for the guys up in the airplanes.

      At the SAME TIME… ( 1615 / 4:15 PM ) Blue Ridge Captain Trueheart Brown says that ALL of the weather events and fire behaviors that would eventually kill those men were ALREADY HAPPENING.

      ** From Blue Ridge Captain Trueheart Brown’s Unit Log…

      ———————————————-
      1615 – OUTFLOWS begin. Fire starts to increase ROS DRAMATICALLY moving to the SOUTH… VERY QUICKLY and SPOTTING. (xxxxxxx) the thunderstorm has significant DOWNDRAFTS 20+ MPH and these are DRAMATICALLY increasing fire behavior, PUSHING things to the SOUTH.
      ———————————————

      In that SAME time period ( prior to and during the FF evacuation sequence ) SPGS1 Gary Cordes testified to ADOSH that the fire was ALREADY ‘spotting ahead of itself to the SOUTH’ at least a HALF-MILE.

      Again… ( according to the SAIT ) this would have been BEFORE those men even decided to walk down a dangerous fuel-choked drainage chute into an equally dangerous box-canyon filled with explosive fuel with the fire now MUCH less than a mile away.

      >> RTS also said…
      >>
      >> Yet, they made an epic, fatal mistake to leave their perfectly good SZ at
      >> the worst possible time, and walk through unburned fuels in chimneys
      >> and chutes and ultimately into an unburned, fuel choked bowl, and into
      >> the head of the fire approaching the BSR and Yarnell..

      See above.

      If they weren’t aware of what was happening… it isn’t because this
      kind of fire behavior is ‘unpredictable’.

      It was ALREADY HAPPENING… even BEFORE some critical decisions were made.

      No ‘predictions’ or ‘assumptions’ required.

      They died because they weren’t paying proper attention to their circumstances, following all the rules of their profession… OR bothering to properly consult with other GROUND and AIR resources.

      THAT is, in fact, the story that the EVIDENCE tells us or anyone who bothers to look at it.

    • SR says

      Agreed. I’d simply add that, not only were there high winds on the YHF that were forecast, developed as predicted, and were observed by GM themselves, but also this is not an unusual weather event for that area that time of year. Dealing with snow in the southeast causes issues in part because people don’t see it that often, so don’t know how to process it. You have thunderstorms roll down off the rim in that part of AZ on a regular basis, and any regular user of the outdoors there should be and normally is mindful of this.

      It should be of great interest to everyone whether there was a conscious decision to just race the weather and fire, or if not, what clues exist in the content of the conversations between Marsh and Steed that might explain why they weren’t thinking about what was right in front of them, which was a known, usual, predicted phenomenon. It is as if someone in CA dealing with Santa Anas decided to act as if the forecast Santa Anas, which were in fact blowing, didn’t exist.

    • rocksteady says

      To be clear here.

      I, as an ic/ops etc never count on only 1 escape route for my people during extreme fire behaviour. Putting all of your faith in only 1 escape route is foolish.

      During extreme behaviour I have my people identify, test, flag and time each route, dependant on what direction the fire behaviour tells them that they must use to remain safe.

      The policy of my agency is that once we reach a certain threshold, based on the FBAN calculation of fire intensity and rates of spread, in the form of BTU’S per chain per hour. This policy states there MUST be a lookout posted and at least 2 escape routes must be scouted, flagged and timed.

      Here is a high level question for you to ponder…..Why are so many US wff entrapped, burned over, shelter deployment, killed over the years compared to Canada?

      We can also get extreme fire behaviour, but all provinces teach situational awareness and entrapment avoidance in many courses throughout a wff career. We prefer to walk away and come back the next day to try again, versus trying to win an acknowledged losing battle or non winnable plan A.

      • Elizabeth says

        Rocksteady, thank you, again, for sharing this insight and question to ponder. Allow me to give you one in return: Does Canada have the same number of hotshot crews per wildland fire that the states have, and are your crews paid the same way?

        Back when Bob Powers was on a hotshot crew, there were fewer than 50 or so hotshot crews. There are now over 100 hotshot crews, and they make their money in large part via OVERTIME during the fire season. The 2013 fire season up until June 30 had been a slow one, so, according to one of the wives of the deceased, GM took the YHF assignment rather than staying home in part because the guys were not making the money they were used to making to store up for the non-fire season because the season had been so slow to that point.

        Just thinking out loud. So you folks have black-and-white rules, which seem really useful. But I am wondering if you also have the same number of hotshot crews per wildland fire and are they paid the same way (e.g. hourly, relying on overtime to sustain them for the non-fire season)? Just thinking all this through.

        Thank you, sincerely, for sharing your expertise and doing so without attacking.

        • rocksteady says

          We have over 20 hotshot crews (we call them unit crews) in the province of BC alone.

          They are paid the same as the US, regular work hours, then overtime for work outside of core hours.

          From the $ standpoint, it would have been beneficial for GM to sit in the black all day, let the fire run, then work it the next day.

          If you are all edging tactical and operational decisions are based on the amount of money a crew can maximize, that is a HUGE red flag to me.

          • Elizabeth says

            Rocksteady said: “If you are all edging tactical and operational decisions are based on the amount of money a crew can maximize, that is a HUGE red flag to me.”

            Just to be clear, I was not saying that. Rather, I am saying (1) there are far more hotshot crews now than there used to be when Bob was on a hotshot crew- presumably that at least in part puts some sort of pressure on crews in certain circumstances and (2) my understanding is that one of the likely reasons why GM took the YHF assignment is b/c it was a slow fire season and the guys count on making money during fire season to sustain them during non-fire-season.

            • rocksteady says

              It may have been a slow season, with more crews available, but you couple that with numerous reports that the season is starting earlier, ending later and fires are more aggressive than they have ever been, an experienced inter agency hotshot crew would know they will get their piece of the pie.

              • Elizabeth says

                I’m just telling you what one of the family members (or more than one) said. My guys who are WFFs in the S/SW said last year was slow, too. They all made less than normal.

  37. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Elizabeth (counselor) post on February 28, 2015 at 9:39 am

    >> counselor said…
    >>
    >> Hindsight is obviously 20/20, but it is unfair to the deceased for
    >> you to try to suggest that you actually were aware of and thinking
    >> of downbursts prior to Dr. Brian Potter mentioning them (which,
    >> by the way, happened almost two YEARS after GM died).

    Fer cryin’ out loud.

    counselor… PLEASE come down off that didactic high-horse you are ALWAYS riding and stop being such a mis-informed TROLL.

    Anyone who ever read the original SAIR report ( yes, almost TWO YEARS ago ) knows that DOWNDRAFTS / DOWNBURSTS were involved in what happened in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

    You are NOT even remotely presenting any NEW information.

    **From PDF page 14 of the
    ** Yarnell Special Accident Investigation Report (SAIR)
    **Published September 28, 2013. ( 74 weeks ago )…

    Conditions leading up to the Yarnell Hill Fire consisted of VERY HIGH to EXTREME FIRE DANGER and EXTREME DROUGHT during a transition to the Southwest’s summer monsoon season. During this seasonal transition, temperatures are typically very hot. Relative humidity values remain low but fluctuate as STORMS become more numerous and cloud cover more prevalent. WINDS ARE HIGHLY VARIABLEwith the HIGHEST WIND SPEEDS occurring during THUNDERSTORMS. These storms can generate STRONG DOWNDRAFTS, micro-bursts, outflows, and gust fronts, ALL of which can AFFECT FIRE BEHAVIOR.

    **From PDF page 29 of the
    ** Yarnell Special Accident Investigation Report (SAIR)
    **Published September 28, 2013. ( 74 weeks ago )…

    OUTFLOW WINDS

    When thunderstorms produce rain, hail, or virga (rain that evaporates before reaching the ground), strong DOWNDRAFT winds develop under the storm cloud. The DOWNDRAFTS turn horizontal when they reach the earth’s surface and become “outflow winds.” These winds can reach speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour. An outflow boundary, also called a gust front, is the leading edge of the outflow winds as they move away from the thunderstorms.

    **From PDF page 74 of the
    ** Yarnell Special Accident Investigation Report (SAIR)
    **Published September 28, 2013. ( 74 weeks ago )…

    WEATHER

    The Southwest region of the United States experiences a weather phenomenon known as the Summer Monsoon. The monsoon period represents a switch in wind patterns from a drier westerly flow to a moist southerly or easterly flow. This typically occurs from mid-June through mid-July and generally lasts into September. During the initial stages of the monsoon, drier thunderstorms are dominant but generally give way to larger footprints of wetter storms. GUSTY OUTFLOW WINDS DOMINATE the drier thunderstorm period. Storms typically form over the higher terrain such as the Mogollon Rim and then try to move off the higher terrain as the day progresses. Terrain features pertinent to thunderstorm formation include the Bradshaw Mountains and Mogollon Rim. There is typically a one to two-week period when the moisture shift is dynamic and provides HIGHLY VARIABLE weather.

    Temperatures are typically hot just prior to and during this transition. Relative humidity values will start out low and then fluctuate widely as storms and cloud cover become more numerous. WINDS ARE HIGHLY VARIABLE during this period with HIGHEST WIND SPEEDS tied to THUNDERSTORMS.

    These winds, known as DOWNDRAFTS, micro-bursts, outflows, and gust fronts, generally deliver ERRATIC WIND SHIFTS and SHORT BURSTS of STRONG SPEEDS.

    **From PDF page 75 of the
    ** Yarnell Special Accident Investigation Report (SAIR)
    **Published September 28, 2013. ( 74 weeks ago )…

    The Phoenix and Flagstaff National Weather Service (NWS) offices released routine weather balloons to capture atmospheric profiles of temperature-humidity and winds at 0400 MST ( on June 30, 2013 ). These balloons reported increased moisture and instability across the middle portion of the atmosphere, indicating potential for thunderstorm development and a HIGH LIKELIHOOD for STRONG DOWNDRAFT WINDS and SUBSEQUENT OUTFLOWS..

    **From PDF page 77 of the
    ** Yarnell Special Accident Investigation Report (SAIR)
    **Published September 28, 2013. ( 74 weeks ago )…

    From 1500 to 1530 MST, the FAA radar showed an outflow boundary originating from the thunderstorms to the northeast. An outflow boundary, or gust front, is the leading edge of an outflow wind system caused by DOWNDRAFTS from cumulonimbus clouds.

    • Marti Reed says

      Agree. Thinking about and discussing being….

      “aware of and thinking
      >> of downbursts prior to Dr. Brian Potter mentioning them” is seriously NOT NEWS.

      And I would REALLY REALLY like to add, from my own perspective of having to contemplate and question a somewhat similar situation regarding my brother, that discussing and questioning why anybody would do something that is increasingly appearing to be dangerously “stupid” is not being “unfair to the deceased.”

      I find that attitude to be quite OFFENSIVELY PATRONIZING.

      • Marti Reed says

        People (including myself) do what appear to be dangerously “stupid” things all the time.

        It’s important for them and us to be honest about them.

        Especially if they and us are going to learn ANYTHING from them.

        • Sitta says

          YES. This is so important, Marti.

          The solution to the cruelty of assuming the dead were ignorant/irrational people is *not* to deny their mistakes. The solution is to study their mistakes, *understanding that we all have blind spots and imperfections, and must constantly fight our own complacencies.* Part of being human is to be ignorant and irrational at times — none of us are above that.

          There is a certain cruelty and self-righteousness in telling survivors that these things would never have happened one any of your crews. It should not be confused with the honesty of saying particular practices were not allowed (or typical) on your crews, and are danger signs that should be pointed out for the safety of all. Even conscientious, experienced firefighters make mistakes. I don’t doubt that many of them spend their entire careers never making some of the particular mistakes that were made on the Yarnell Hill Fire. But things are broken enough in our subculture to allow this tragedy, and probably a lot of near fatalities, too (most of us can admit the cause wasn’t some freak weather phenomenon).

          The only sensible move forward is to learn from our mistakes. Pretending we are above making mistakes tends to shut down discussion. And it makes those of us still working in fire more vulnerable to f***ups, ourselves. (I do understand that we have someone here who pounces on every admitted imperfection — almost like a trial lawyer — but if we can ignore that burr, I think we’ll have a more trusting, honest, and productive learning experience.)

          Thanks to everyone who has kept this forum going, long after I could find any further insights to extract. Marti, I’m sorry you lost your mom — I’m glad she had you caring for her.