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Thread: Wildfire 2021

  1. #126
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    Smoky Steamboat thanks to Collum fire south of Craig. Ugh. Was really hoping for a few more weeks of clean air, time to wear the mask for bike rides again.

  2. #127
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    It'll be interesting to see how this season plays out. It's dryer and hotter than ever. We're breaking all time record highs here in SE Idaho by 5 degrees this week. CO is breaking record highs by 5 degrees this week.

    On top of that, major staffing issues are happening across the wildland world- https://wildfiretoday.com/2021/05/20...growing-issue/

    No one can afford to live in McCall or Tahoe or Jackson or Steamboat or Driggs or Bozeman or Missoula or C'DA or Leavenworth on a GS 3/4/5/6 income. The idea of hotshots and helitack and jumpers making $13-$16 per hour is infuriating.

  3. #128
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    It was made 100% clear to me, and others, multiple times, that white males were not going to advance. All the best wildland firefighters I worked with are in other careers now.

    Rate of pay is simple and straightforward to discuss, and yeah it’s infuriating. What’s also infuriating is being in my 12th season, being “supervised” by “diversity candidates” with half my time in, who couldn’t lead their way out of a wet paper bag.

    Once they started thinking about hiring/training/promoting as just awarding a salary to a particular demographic instead of a bunch of really important safety/productivity-sensitive tasks and skills and wisdom that cannot be faked…the whole system was bound to start breaking down. I’m not one bit surprised at an ongoing systemic staffing shortage. I’m surprised it’s not worse.

  4. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill-advised strategy View Post
    It was made 100% clear to me, and others, multiple times, that white males were not going to advance. All the best wildland firefighters I worked with are in other careers now.

    Rate of pay is simple and straightforward to discuss, and yeah it’s infuriating. What’s also infuriating is being in my 12th season, being “supervised” by “diversity candidates” with half my time in, who couldn’t lead their way out of a wet paper bag.

    Once they started thinking about hiring/training/promoting as just awarding a salary to a particular demographic instead of a bunch of really important safety/productivity-sensitive tasks and skills and wisdom that cannot be faked…the whole system was bound to start breaking down. I’m not one bit surprised at an ongoing systemic staffing shortage. I’m surprised it’s not worse.

    I had virtually the exact same experience. Teaching a neophyte just graduated professional Forester how to do the most rudimentary jobs was most infuriating which happened on the timber side several times. We referred to them as "educated idiots." Fortunately "diversity candidates" weren't a thing when I quit back before the turn of the century and actual fire qualifications still ruled the day.

  5. #130
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    I had the same experience, but also watched a lot of racist and sexist shit go on towards smart, capable people who didn’t happen to be white guys. Most of the middle and upper management outside of R5 in USFS fire is still white dudes. We all have our story, but at the end of the day it was pretty much white dudes.

    USFS fire was sort of just a toxic stew for me. Rural duty stations without much for job opportunities for a spouse, need to move every few years to move up, long seasons, not great pay, seasonal work, old boy culture, etc I don’t know if you could design a system more primed for turnover.

  6. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevo View Post
    It'll be interesting to see how this season plays out. It's dryer and hotter than ever. We're breaking all time record highs here in SE Idaho by 5 degrees this week. CO is breaking record highs by 5 degrees this week.

    On top of that, major staffing issues are happening across the wildland world- https://wildfiretoday.com/2021/05/20...growing-issue/

    No one can afford to live in McCall or Tahoe or Jackson or Steamboat or Driggs or Bozeman or Missoula or C'DA or Leavenworth on a GS 3/4/5/6 income. The idea of hotshots and helitack and jumpers making $13-$16 per hour is infuriating.
    We have seen the enemy, and it is YOU.
    The truth doesn't care about your feelings.

  7. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_newguy View Post
    I had the same experience, but also watched a lot of racist and sexist shit go on towards smart, capable people who didn’t happen to be white guys. Most of the middle and upper management outside of R5 in USFS fire is still white dudes. We all have our story, but at the end of the day it was pretty much white dudes.

    USFS fire was sort of just a toxic stew for me. Rural duty stations without much for job opportunities for a spouse, need to move every few years to move up, long seasons, not great pay, seasonal work, old boy culture, etc I don’t know if you could design a system more primed for turnover.

    Jobs were open and selection was tilted towards women and minorities, then left unfilled after NO diversity candidates has even applied was just brutal for morale. I left a little bitter towards affirmative action, but 30 years later retired at 62 and can now ski and camp to my hearts content.

    I had some of the best, most exciting times of my life, and saw many great places w some great people working USFS/BLM timber, fire, and rec. And I spent those winters skiing or camping on the beaches of Baja. I refer to it now as my "early retirement."

    Yeah racism/sexism exist and need to be overcome so if my loss was somebodies gain, so be it.

  8. #133
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    Yeti- seems like anyone could self identify as a minority and no one would be able to do anything about it. It's still bullshit, but why not throw bullshit back at a bullshit system?

    Not sure what you're getting at GladeMaster. Something about class warfare because you think I lucked out in the housing market?

    If that's the case, wouldn't it make sense for people who didn't get fucked over to call out the system on behalf of people getting fucked over? I fully support wildland fire employees getting paid wages that afford a decent standard of living, homeownership, etc.

  9. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopeless Sinner View Post
    Jobs were open and selection was tilted towards women and minorities, then left unfilled after NO diversity candidates has even applied was just brutal for morale. I left a little bitter towards affirmative action, but 30 years later retired at 62 and can now ski and camp to my hearts content.

    I had some of the best, most exciting times of my life, and saw many great places w some great people working USFS/BLM timber, fire, and rec. And I spent those winters skiing or camping on the beaches of Baja. I refer to it now as my "early retirement."

    Yeah racism/sexism exist and need to be overcome so if my loss was somebodies gain, so be it.

    Kickass job in my younger years for sure. 100 day ski seasons…travel….

    Didn’t pay the bills for a family then and still doesn’t.

    I’m just interested to see what they do with all of these people in the winter when they convert them to 26/0. “There is 3 ft of snow on the ground, watch this training video.”

  10. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_newguy View Post
    Kickass job in my younger years for sure. 100 day ski seasons…travel….

    Didn’t pay the bills for a family then and still doesn’t.

    I’m just interested to see what they do with all of these people in the winter when they convert them to 26/0. “There is 3 ft of snow on the ground, watch this training video.”

    When I get my SS statement it makes me cringe wrt to pay for those years. Also wondered how I even survived.

  11. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevo View Post
    Yeti- seems like anyone could self identify as a minority and no one would be able to do anything about it. It's still bullshit, but why not throw bullshit back at a bullshit system?
    Wait, you're suggesting people go full Rachel Dolezal and commit a felony on their job application to get a job?



    Do people have the same contempt for veteran hiring preferences as they do minority and female hiring preferences?

  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by altasnob View Post

    Do people have the same contempt for veteran hiring preferences as they do minority and female hiring preferences?


    No. Veterans were cool, flew w a lot of helicopter pilots that served in Viet Nam. There did not seem to be many Vets that enjoyed working for GS-5,6 wages on a 13/13.

    But I do have contempt for the practice of offering a job and then not making any hire because only white males applied and/or only white males were qualified. That practice doesn't equate to a "preference", it's an outright exclusion.
    Last edited by Hopeless Sinner; 06-16-2021 at 08:48 PM.

  13. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopeless Sinner View Post
    When I get my SS statement it makes me cringe wrt to pay for those years. Also wondered how I even survived.
    Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me about that. LOL.

  14. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by glademaster View Post
    We have seen the enemy, and it is YOU.
    Says the guy who had his parents help him buy a home in a mountain town.

  15. #140
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    Right, generally my experience with vets was positive.
    As for re-identifying racially, by the time it was an issue for the firefighters my age, we were already in and classified.

    What we’re talking about is a critical shortage of fire staff. I’m pointing out a large reason why my contemporaries and I all left that line of work. In my case, my 2nd to last season we had two open permanents, they filled them with one native woman who couldn’t pass the pack test, so the whole season she sat at helibase reading magazines all day, and another woman who got her permanent all signed and squared-away and benefits in place and then told everyone she was 3 mo pregnant and we never saw her again. Those spots were filled with local detailers who were fine, and a woman who came from NM with no idea what she was doing, and kind of spent her time fluttering around trying to figure out who she was going to fuck, both at base and on every assignment we went on…The rest of us had clothes and gear that looked like we’d been working, because we’d been working, and she was there in her bright yellow and bright white gloves, like a reporter, following us around.

    Winning strategy, she’s probably a GS-13 now. A few years ago I heard that woman who couldn’t pass the pack test and sat there reading magazines was still around.

    Edit: just googled. That awful detailer is still in and did move up. The other one apparently died last summer, so now I half feel like an asshole.

  16. #141
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    Everything above is true, and it’s part of who I am now, but it’s exhausting to think about. It’s intractable on every level, from internally to locally to our whole country.
    So I guess if I had thought ahead I might not have posted any of it and I may just delete it, I dunno.

    Back to my post-fire life, where I don’t give a shit what goes on as long as everyone comes home safe.

  17. #142
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    It's insane that someone who can't pass the pack test, which is the absolute minimum requirement for the job, got a promotion and was overseeing an elite national helitack crew.

    If no one shares stories like that nothing will ever change.

  18. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfcf13 View Post
    Says the guy who had his parents help him buy a home in a mountain town.
    ...wow.

  19. #144
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    Man, if only white males ruled the world, everything would be great.

  20. #145
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    ^ Dude, you need to step back and stfu. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

    You’re embarrassing yourself, not that that’s ever bothered you before.

  21. #146
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    I saw the pack test thing happen with multiple white males as well.

    And I’m sure we all experienced the Apprentice program promote people of all types into leadership positions without a normal amount of experience.

  22. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    ^ Dude, you need to step back and stfu. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

    You’re embarrassing yourself, not that that’s ever bothered you before.
    It really was about inexperienced people being promoted into positions they weren’t ready for in a business where inexperience means people get hurt or killed, not that the TPS report is late.

    It’s well documented however that there are racial and sex disparities across the USFS and a lot of it is a result of how minorities and women were treated. Just promoting people isn’t the solution.

  23. #148
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    Moral is low in all sorts of professions (doctors, attorneys, engineers). Everyone longs for the ways things used to be. But blaming problems on minorities and women based on anecdotal evidence is bullshit. Carry on white frat boys.

  24. #149
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    On a more humorous note. I love the comments on Wild Fire Today.

    It never fails:

    “ INADEQUATE Resources on the Robertson Draw fire . Why ?? This could turn into a disaster !”

    “ Us contractor r still waiting at home wondering if we r going to be called out”


    “ Drove south on 72 toward Cody at about 2:00 pm. Still a small fire contained near origin. Returned about midnight. Fire was raging on the Belfry side. Flames were 100 foot high plus. What a shame. Fire management on this fire has been poor at best. If disaster occurs, it’s caused by the lack of response.”

  25. #150
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    Ok, let me then say this:

    I had an afmo who was native and I’d follow that guy into hell.

    My first squaddy on my first crew was a Minnesota farm girl named Heidi and I aspired to her mental and physical fitness the entire rest of my career.

    I could never, ever have done what I did in dispatch without a pair of shit-kicking ranch-style lds women who raised me, as a newb in that job, with just the right mix of push and humor and wisdom.

    I’m not going after some white power/man’s world thing. I’m saying a swath of us got dicked over in a misguided political push to just tick boxes on a Report card.

    Diversity candidates: if you’ve got the right mind and body for wildland fire, please ride that career ladder to the moon.

    I’m just saying I got told a couple of times “we’re not putting a white male in that job”….told informally, behind the scenes…and after a really bad season I just said fuck it. Most of my buddies did too.

    I’m so stupid for even bringing it up. The people who get it already get it, everyone else thinks I’m archie bunker, at best.

    This is just bits during downtime at work, but as I’m driving I sit here thinking of so many women and minorities I loved working with, and for (!).
    Maybe I’ll try to do a few stories.

    I worked with (on paper, “for” irl) a hispanic woman in a wheelchair who should be President of the USA, if not some kind of continent-level queen of multiple countries….
    Last edited by ill-advised strategy; 06-17-2021 at 11:29 AM.

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