My career still parallels what I anticipated as a college student seeking a meaningful career.
I am outside a lot, it is noble and it is definitely an adventure. It was Hotshoting that really resonated with me. Just know that I have a lot of heart and a ton of pride in the people and places that developed me into the person that I am.
But a lot has changed and what my younger self failed to foresee was the weight of the psychological toll of this profession and how unnecessarily exasperated it is by the Agency. Some of the psychological weight is part of the job. We work in the woods and the woods are an inherently dangerous place.
Introduce fire, increased fuel loading, wilder deviations from weather norms, an ever expanding reach of the wildland urban interface, more state and local government working with a scale of fire and an environment they are unfamiliar with and we find ourselves in very dynamic and complex situations. But the single most vexing and compounding factor is that we are a conservation agency ran by politicians and science based academics that just happen to oversee the most effective and comprehensive wildland firefighting force in the world.
- Fireline fatality shines light on Forest Service workforce - Wildfire Today.
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- Fireline fatality shines light on Forest Service workforce.
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Our current management structure and its subsequent repercussions on our Firefighting workforce are not new problems. Line of Duty deaths are not new problems. Incident complexity has increased and demand has increased. When will the Agency embrace what we do on a daily basis? When will the Agency recognize what the public already expects of us? We invented wildland firefighting and yet the individuals making the decisions that impact us the gravest have never done our job.
How can we expect to succeed if we have people supervising in facets in which they have no experience? This is an illogical structure that would universally fail across all spectrums of humanity throughout time. They had been invited as guest speakers to build passion and spur pride in the Apprentices for the career path they had recently chosen. The speakers were there to create enthusiasm and to fortify duty, respect and integrity. The two former Superintendents spoke from the heart and gave blood pumping speeches that were teeming with energy, pride and nostalgia for a job they loved so much.
Speeches from leaders carry weight.
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Their actions matter. Leaders are constantly being judged and evaluated. They set the tempo, they build the culture, and they are responsible for their followers conduct and performance. How one carries themselves and the message they deliver have effects. When Randy Moore addresses a room full of Apprentices and informs them they should identify as Forest Service employees and not as Firefighters it has a negative impact. As the implications of this statement rippled throughout the fire community it was perceived as another hit to morale. It was an inclusionary statement that had the opposite effect on Firefighters.
The risk, exposure, liability and commitment accepted by Firefighters is not the same as employees of other departments and cannot be lumped under the broad Forest Service umbrella without acknowledgement. The deliberate approach to steer away from the classification of Firefighter is hard to swallow. And for the young, impressionable, passionate men and women who just accepted their first permanent job on a wildland fire engine or an Interagency Hotshot Crew that were in attendance, they could feel the air being sucked out of the room.
The entire ambiance was said to have shifted and the mood plummeted. This is wrong. How does this happen? We would be proud to identify as Forest Service Firefighters; we already are. Currently an individual is only identified as a Firefighter after a Line of Duty death. How is this acceptable? We fight fire year round. Our surplus time is spent preparing for the upcoming fire season. We have Firefighter retirement.
All signs point to Firefighters. Sonny you forgot to capitalize Firefighter. Intentional or accidental it has an effect. There are 17 Wildland Firefighter line of duty deaths each year.
San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District
Attending memorials and paying tributes of respect is becoming common place for us. But as Firefighters we have accepted our reality. And then we went to work. We went back to the fire line. Often performing the same exact role as the deceased. Have you experienced that?
Berkley Fireline Fused Crystal - Bass Fishing Forum - acanketop.cf
Have you tried to dissect that dichotomy and articulate it to a group of young seasonal Forestry Technicians you are about to lead into a fire fight? It is impossible to extrapolate the psychological burden of this load. But we carry the weight and we carry on. All fire season long we work ourselves past complete mental and physical exhaustion. That is what fire season demands of us.
We do the job because we have pride in it. Because somebody has to do it. Because not everyone can do it. Someone has to accept the risk. Or what it takes to spend a days a year on the fireline, breathing smoke, dodging falling burning trees, rolling boulders, working with aircraft, driving dangerous roads and sleeping in the dirt. Leaders that can advocate for us. When do we face our real challenges? When do we stop pretending to be a zero fatality organization?
When do we solve staffing, retention, Firefighter classification, pay and morale?
Weed Abatement Deadline
People are willing to make sacrifices when they feel good about what they do, but right now not many do. Despite the personal sacrifice at the expense of our families and our long term health we choose to eke out a living as Forestry Technicians because we believe in what we do and how we do it. But it is getting harder every day. All my jigging reels are 6lb Yellow Fireline with 3ft of florocarbon leader. Feb 21, 6. Feb 21, 7. Messages: 24 Likes Received: 0 Location: grand blanc.
Feb 21, 8. Messages: Likes Received: 3 Location: in a tree stand. Your on the right track on a little lighter jigs and line. Of course this all dependes on the wind and current speed. Feb 21, 9. Messages: 1, Likes Received: 2.
National Fire Plan Success Story
Good topic Bob. I am with the Junkie here.
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I have been using Fireline more and more. The Fireline is really great for river jigging. I just don't care for the feel when fighting a fish. I will miss many more fish using mono over Fireline, and that is ok on a good bite.