Saturday, March 31, 2012

LAFD: Chief Brian Cummings Still in the Spotlight

 Low Morale at Los Angeles Fire Department? Chief Brian Cummings Says It's Simply A Nationwide Epidemic

Someone needs to pull aside Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings and give him a few pointers on talking to the press... or maybe he needs a refresher course in owning up to things.

LAFD Chief Brian Cummings
When L.A. Weekly approached Cummings last week and asked why firefighters were suffering from low morale, he ignored the question and cited unnamed "reports" that show there's a low morale epidemic spreading far and wide in the United States.

"There are morale issues across the country," Cummings said.


The chief's answer was interesting since he didn't dispute there's low morale in the Los Angeles Fire Department, which we heard over and over again when we talked with firefighters for this week's news story, "LAFD Response-Time Scandal."

We googled "reports" and "low morale" to find recent academic studies or newspaper stories about this epidemic, but we couldn't find anything easily.

There were stories about low morale on Wall Street, at the Department of Homeland Security, and at Yahoo. And guess what was an often-mentioned cause of low morale?

Poor leadership!

"The guys feel a certain sense of betrayal," Captain Frank Lima, a vice-president at United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, referring to Cummings' highly public role in supporting budget cuts for the LAFD last year, tells the Weekly. "Guys aren't complainers, but that's the feeling out there."

"Our rank and file has a lot of concerns about the chief," says an LAFD veteran with over 20 years, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity. "He's just not going to do what's in the best interest of the fire department."

Another anonymous veteran says firefighters do "not wholeheartedly" trust Cummings' word.

That same veteran adds that the rank and file don't have much respect for Cummings' boss, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "He's doing things to make himself look good for his next [political] opportunity."

A third anonymous veteran tells us the Villaraigosa-appointed Fire Commission, the civilian board that oversees the department, hasn't helped morale either.

"We haven't heard anything from [the fire commission]," says the firefighter. "They've gone along with all the cuts, and they haven't said 'boo' about it. It's as if they've been hiding and hoping the spotlight won't be turned on them."

The veteran also says morale has "never been lower" in the department and both Cummings and Villaraigosa are to blame.

"The guys in the department don't think much of [the mayor]," says the firefighter. "He knowingly did what he did. He can't escape the fact that he knew what was going to happen with his budget cuts."

In the end, it doesn't matter if there's low morale in New York City, Ohio, or Alabama. A severe low morale problem is happening right here in Los Angeles at the fire department. Will Cummings and Villaraigosa do anything about it? Or will the chief just spin more lame excuses?
Story from: LA Weekly Blog


DynCorp earns award for CAL FIRE aircraft support

 DynCorp International Earns Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Diamond Award for Excellence

  DynCorp International has earned the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) prestigious Diamond Award for Excellence for its support of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

DI flies and maintains Grumman S-2T fire retardant air tankers and OV-10A aircraft, and fully maintains and services civilian UH-1H Super Huey helicopters flown by CAL FIRE pilots.

“We are proud that our aviation management staff and DynCorp International mechanics maintain the largest wildland air fleet in the world with an award winning safety and maintenance program.”

The FAA's Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Award program is based entirely on the commitment of maintenance technicians to improve safety by actively participating in initial and recurring training programs to further their technical knowledge. The Diamond Award is the highest corporate award, and the program includes both individual and corporate recognition.

“Firefighting aircraft play a pivotal support role in helping our firefighters suppress California's devastating wildfires,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director. “We are proud that our aviation management staff and DynCorp International mechanics maintain the largest wildland air fleet in the world with an award winning safety and maintenance program.”

The award recognizes 100-percent participation in training by Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics who complete FAA-certified training online and document completion of DI annual maintenance training. In addition to the Diamond Award, which is presented to the company, each mechanic receives an Aviation Maintenance Technician award based on the number of training hours logged.

“Receiving this award is an honor and reflects the exceptional maintenance performed by DI team members for CAL FIRE aircraft that are responsible for helping suppress and control wild land fires on more than 30 million acres of land. Each DI technician working in the CAL FIRE program is committed and dedicated to continuously improving their knowledge base,” said Jeffrey Cavarra, CAL FIRE program manager for DynCorp International.

More about CAL FIRE Aircraft: In support of its ground forces, the CAL FIRE emergency response air program includes23 Grumman S-2T 1,200 gallon airtankers (one is kept as maintenance relief), 11 UH-1H Super Huey helicopters (two are kept as maintenance relief, and 14 OV-10A airtactical aircraft (one is kept as maintenance relief). From 13 air attack and nine helitack bases located statewide, aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes.

The airtactical planes fly overhead directing the airtankers and helicopters to critical areas of the fire for retardant and water drops. The retardant used to slow or retard the spread of a fire is a slurry mix consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, clay or a gum-thickening agent, and a coloring agent.

While both airtankers and helicopters are equipped to carry fire retardant or water, the helicopters can also transport firefighters, equipment and injured personnel. All CAL FIRE Aircraft are strategically located throughout the state at airbases and helicopter bases. During high fire activity, CAL FIRE may move aircraft to better provide statewide air support.

The average annual budget of the CAL FIRE Aviation Management Program is nearly $20 million. A total of 18 CAL FIRE personnel oversee the program with an additional 130 contract employees providing mechanical, pilot and management services to the program.

CAL FIRE's current support contractors are DynCorp and Logistics Specialties Incorporated (LSI). DynCorp provides airtanker and airtactical plane pilot services, and all aircraft maintenance services. (All CAL FIRE helicopters are flown by CAL FIRE pilots.) LSI provides procurement and parts management services.

Lawler Fire was sparked by a controlled burn

 Cal Fire officials are reviewing procedures statewide after investigators determined that a 15-acre fire in the San Jacinto Mountains this year was sparked by a controlled burn.

In mid-December, crews had been burning piles of brush and cutting debris north of Idyllwild/Pine Cove, Cal Fire spokeswoman Cheri Patterson said in a written statement. The purpose was to create a defensible space around the communities.

The Lawler Fire started three weeks later. The morning of Jan. 8, 25-mph winds kicked up a deep-seated in a pile of cleared brush, the investigation found.

Fanned by Santa Ana winds and unseasonably warm temperatures, the flames spread through the San Bernardino National Forest off Highway 243 and Black Mountain Road, between Idyllwild and Banning.

No structures were threatened. More than 200 firefighters contained the blaze within two days

"The hazard reduction pile burn had last been conducted by CAL FIRE three weeks earlier on December 19, 2011," their statement said.

The Lawler Fire was stoked by an unseasonable, dry, winter wind event in the project area known as Lawler Lodge, off Highway 243 and below Black Mountain, north of the community of Pine Cove, according to Cal Fire.

"A deep seated ember from the burn pile was fanned due to the 25 mph Santa Ana winds," the Cal Fire statement said. "The response to the Lawler Fire included 215 firefighters from CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire and the US Forest Service.

"Aggressive efforts by firefighters and the defensible space provided by the project's brush clearance aided firefighters in safely containing the fire to 15 acres during this significant winter wind event," the Cal Fire statement said.

The Lawler Fire was first reported about 3 a.m. Jan. 8 in the Dark Canyon drainage near Highway 243. More than 200 firefighters and other personnel were assigned at its height, and it was declared 100 percent contained on Jan. 10, Kate Kramer of the U.S. Forest Service said in January.

Two firefighters sustained minor injuries on the first day of the fire and they were both taken to a hospital for treatment, Kramer said.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Technical Rescue: Man Pulled Into Rock Crusher

 Construction worker pulled into a rock crusher at a Irvine building project Wednesday. 

Update: Construction worker an unidentified man, in his 30s or 40s, suffered major head trauma and other injuries underwent surgery Wednesday night.

What: The victim fell onto a conveyor belt which moves large chunks of rebar-laced concrete into a rock crusher. The man went through the first two steps in which the concrete is broken down into rocks, and then the metal is separated from the rocks by a magnet, The man's screams led coworkers to punch an emergency button to turn off the conveyor belt 15 to 20 seconds before the man would have gone through the final step of the machine grinding the rocks into sand.
It took about 15 minutes for Fire Authority urban search and rescue team to remove the man from the machine, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Marc Stone said.Who: The worker was part of a construction crew on a housing project. The unidentified man is hospitalized with major head trauma and other injuries.
Where: Construction site at the old Wild Rivers water park in Irvine in the 8700 block of Irvine Center Drive
When: 3-28-12 12:50 p.m. How: Orange County fire Capt. Marc Stone says the worker fell onto a conveyor belt and he was pulled into the rock crusher on Wednesday afternoon. Co-workers heard the man's screams and activated an emergency shut-off switch, the man was seconds from death when he was pulled out of the crusher.
More: Orange County Register

California Fire News 2012 

Bill to Repeal California's Rural Fire Tax Approved by Committee.

 SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A bill to repeal California's Rural Fire Tax was approved by the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources with strong bipartisan support.

A press release was issued Thursday by the office of Northstate Assemblyman and Chief Republican Whip Dan Logue, who co-authored Assembly Bill 1506.

“It is encouraging to see Democrats and Republicans in agreement on this issue,” said Logue. “Rural homeowners should not have to suffer another oppressive tax.”

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Ken Jeffries, will repeal the State Responsibility Area fire prevention fee (aka the Fire Tax) that was passed last year.

According to Logue's office, the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection enacted regulations in January for the collection of $150 for each “habitable structure” on a property owner’s land; As a result, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association announced that it would sue to stop the implementation of this fee because they believe it violates the California Constitution as an illegally-enacted tax. The bill enacting the Fire Tax was passed without the required two-thirds vote for new taxes and fees.

AB 1506 will have its next hearing before the Assembly Appropriations Committee in April.
Assemblyman Logue represents the 3rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Butte, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra and Yuba.
Source: Link

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CAL FIRE GREEN SHEET: Lockheed Tree Felling Incident

 California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Informational Summary Report of Serious CAL FIRE Injuries, Illnesses, Accidents and Near-Miss Incidents.
Tree Felling Incident / Inmate Firefighter Serious Injury
March 20, 2012
Lockheed Incident - 12-CA-CZU-002307
Empire SART - 12-CA-CZU-002317

California Northern Region
A Board of Review has not approved this Summary Report. It is intended as a safety and
training tool, an aid to preventing future occurrences, and to inform interested parties. Because it
is published on a short time frame, the information contained herein is subject to revision as
further investigation is conducted and additional information is developed.

Empire Green Sheet
Lookouts Communications Escape Routes Safety Zones
On Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at 1115 hours an inmate firefighter from Ben Lomond Camp was
struck by a felled tree at a fuels management project approximately three miles northwest of Ben
Lomond Camp in Santa Cruz County. The inmate firefighter sustained fractures to a leg, arm,
and lumbar vertebra.

Empire Green Sheet Plot Map
Topography: Varied 30-60% slope
Fuel Type: The incident occurred in a fuel model 9 consisting of an overstory of Tanoak,
Madrone, Live Oak, and Douglas-Fir. The understory consisted of manzanita and various brush
Weather Observations: March 22, 2012, 1100 hours from Ben Lomond RAWS Station
Temperature: 53 Degrees Fahrenheit
RH: 83%
Winds: 3 MPH SSW, Gusts to 7 MPH
Rainfall: The last rainfall reported by the Ben Lomond RAWS Station on March 18, 2012 was
0.43 inches
Equipment: Husqvarna 575XP Chainsaw with 24” bar
On Tuesday, March 20, 2012, Ben Lomond Crews 1 and 5 were assigned to a fuels management
project in Santa Cruz County off of the north end of Empire Grade Road. The crews arrived at
the project at about 1000 hours. The project consisted of brush removal and some tree felling on
slopes of up to 60%.
An inmate firefighter faller trainee from Crew 5 was assigned to fell a 60’ Tanoak tree with an
approximate 16 inch Diameter Breast Height (DBH). The lay of the tree was determined to be
uphill and an appropriate undercut was made on the tree. Upon making the back-cut, the tree fell
away from its intended lay approximately 90 degrees and struck another inmate firefighter
working within the fall zone.
The Crew 5 Captain took immediate action to have the inmate extricated from under the tree,
while the Crew 1 Captain notified Felton ECC of the medical emergency and requested
The two crews worked together to extricate and package the injured crew member for transport.
The injured inmate firefighter was air lifted to Stanford University Hospital.
The crew member sustained fractures to the right femur and tibia, left ulna and radius, and a
fracture of the lumbar spine.
Establish cutting area control ensuring NO ONE is working within TWO times the
height of the tree to be felled.
• Review tree felling procedures with assigned personnel in a Tailgate Safety Briefing.
• Review and maintain LCES.
• Be aware of complacency due to repetitious activity.
• Maintain situational awareness when involved with all saw operations, particularly tree
felling operations.
• Follow standard operating procedures for felling per Section 4044.1.1 of the Training
Handbook and Cal OSHA Title 8, Div 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter 13, Article 5 Falling and
End Empire Green Sheet
Lessons Learned

LCES: Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, Safety Zone


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CO-JEX-Lower North Fork 4,140 acres, 15% contained

 Lower North Fork Fire CO-JEX-000176 Type: Wildfire Start: 03/26/2012 1436 Cause: U Priority:
Overhead Team Name: Mike Frary Type: Type 3 Team Local: GACC:
Lower North Fork Fire Perimeter / Hot Spot Map
  Current situation:  Size: 4,140 ACRES Containment around the Lower North Fork Fire remains at 15%. As of 6:00 AM this morning the Incident Command has transitioned to the Great Basin Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT). The Jefferson County Type 3 will continue to work with the Type 1 team. Today firefighters will be working to gain further containment around the fire while also suppressing the spot fires inside the perimeter.
 The two Heavy Air Tankers have been redeployed to fight another fire in South Dakota. The Colorado Air National Guard will continue to use four Blackhawks to dump water on the fire.
 The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office will continue to escort homeowners, whose structures we have confirmed were damaged by the fire, into the fire perimeter throughout the day.
 Three citizen briefings are scheduled for today at the West Jefferson Middle School. The times are 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 5:00 PM.
PIO available at Staples Parking Lot: Highway 285 and Kitty Road
 An Incident Management Managament Team Public Information Officer is available at the Staples Parking Lot located at at highway 285 and Kitty Road. Residence can come to this location to get additional information.
Significant Events: Persons whose homes have been affected by the fire are being escorted into the burn area to evaluate the damage. Three Colorado National Guard Blackhawk helicopters arrived to assist in suppression efforts. A FEMA US&R team, CO-TF1 arrived to conduct a search for a still missing individual. A National Type 1 Incident Management Team (Harvey) arrived and will shadow the current IMT3 (Frary) in preparation for transition tomorrow at 0600.
Remarks: 2 fatalities to date. Heavy air tankers continue to construct retardant lines. Evacuations continue for 900 homes throughout the fire area. Foxton Rd. remains closed from Reynolds Ranch to S. Platte River. River rd. remains closed from S. Platte to Buffalo Creek. Pleasant Park rd. remains closed from Hwy 285 to Deer Creek Canyon rd.
Observed Fire Behavior: Active surface fire. Some single and group torching observed.
Planned Actions: Continue to construct containment line. Evacuation zones will be reevaluated to try and allow for some residents to return to their homes.

Official Google Fire Map:
View Lower North Fork Wildfire in a larger map

 CO-JEX-Lower North Fork Wildfire Perimeter and Hotspot Map
Update 03-29-2012-1000hrs: 3,790 acres, 0% contained, 23 structures destroyed, 2 civilian fatalities,162 personnel assigned. An Incident Management Public Information Officer is at Staples Parking Lot located at US Highway 285 and Kitty Drive., 3790 acreage number is as of 3/28/12 at 10:30 PM.
A media briefing is scheduled for 4:00 PM at the Conifer High School parking lot.
Update 03-28-2012-1000hrs: Latest News and Notes: North Fork: (CO-JEX) IMT3 (Frary) 1 mile E of Foxton, CO. IMT1 (Harvey) arrived and in briefed at 2000 yesterday and will assume command at end of shift today. The fire is 3,790 acres, 0% contained, 162 personnel assigned.Two non-firefighter fatalities are confirmed and a death investigation is being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office. An investigation team consisting of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colo State Forest Service and Sheriff’s Office is also investigation the cause of the fire. Twenty-three structures have been destroyed, and 900 are still under evacuation orders and threatened.
Significant actions: Heavy Air tankers constructed retardant lines to secure current perimeter while crews continued point protection for structures. Additional Type I and II crews have been ordered and will be arriving from the South West Area (R3).
Source News and Notes: RMCC Link
Fire Information is only through the JFCO blogspot:
A press briefing will be held at 0730 today at Conifer High School.
Weather Outlook: Red Flags - High Fire Danger forecast for next 72 hours

Time-line Notes: 
Update 03-28-2012-0730hrs: The wildfire is 3,790 acres, 0% contained, 23 structures destroyed, 162 personnel assigned. IMT1 (Harvey) arrived and in briefed at 2000 yesterday and will assume command at end of shift today. 
 Two non-firefighter fatalities are confirmed and a death investigation is being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office. An investigation team consisting of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colo State Forest Service and Sheriff’s Office is also investigation the cause of the fire. Twenty-three structures have been destroyed, and 900 are still under evacuation orders and threatened.
Significant actions: Heavy Air tankers constructed retardant lines to secure current perimeter while crews continued point protection for structures. Additional Type I and II crews have been ordered and will be arriving from the South West Area (R3).
Fire Information is only through the JFCO blogspot:
A press briefing will be held at 0730 today at Conifer High School."
Update 03-27-2012-1330hrs: Pre-evacuation notice sent to an additional 6,500 homes. Lower North Fork (CO-PBC-JEX): One Type 1 Limited and one Type 2 Standard Helicopters mobilized from SWA today.
Update 03-27-2012-1100hrs: Second fatality has been located in the same area as the first according to the Jefferson County emergency blogspot.(Link)., Type 3 IMT ordered, Smokey Bear and Sacramento IHCs assigned, per SWCC. Additionally, one air tanker and one Type 2IA crew mobilized from Region 3, per SWCC News and Notes.
Update 03-27-2012-0930hrs: The Lower North Fork Fire is at 6000 acres, 1000 homes evacuated, 0% containment with no controlled fire line. However, current fire fighting strategy has changed from point protection to active fire suppression.
 Grass, shrubs and “duff” are fueling the fire along with Ponderosa Pine Trees. The Ponderosa Pines will typically burn hot and continuous until they are nothing more than white ash. Heavy tree canopies combined with high temperatures and a lack of humidity are contributing to the volatile conditions as well.
 Hot Shot Fire Crews are on the way from Utah, Arizona and South Dakota; upon arrival they will be immediately deployed to the fire zone.
  One air tanker, two IHC's, and one Type 2 IA Crew mobilized from SWA.
Update 03-27-2012-0600hrs: 3050 acres. 1 civilian fatality, 15-25 homes destroyed.
Update 03-26-2012-2030hrs:
 3000+ acres. One sheriffs deputy was almost over-run by fire this afternoon attempting to evacuate structures. He ditched his car on the side of the road and it later burned. Multiple structures have been destroyed and the fire continues to burn aggressively after dark. Winds are forecast to calm overnight but its supposed to be warm again tomorrow with light winds. 964 homes are currently under evacuation orders.
Update 03-26-2012-1600hrs: Structure protection priority. IC setting up structure protection group. Immediate Evacuation's evacuations and structure protection being ordered now on the Lower North Fork Fire with fire activity picking up the Kuehster Road/Pleasant Park area, everything south of Critchell Road. structure threat of 500 homes. reported over 100 acres now
Update 03-26-2012-1530hrs: reported stating this ones "off to the races" 
Update 03-26-2012-1500hrs:  Reported at 10 to 15 acres and "running."

View Lower North Fork Wildfire in a larger map
CO-JEX-Lower North Fork Wildfire Perimeter, Evacuation and Information Map
Incident Name/Type: CO-JEX-Lower North Fork
  • Last Updated: 
  • Date/Time Started:
  • Administrative Unit: 
  • County: 
  • Location: Approximately 6 miles southeast of Conifer,  1 mile E of Foxton, CO. 
  • GPS:  Latitude: 39° 26´ 9" Longitude: 105° 13´ 1"
  • Acres Burned: 3,790
  • ROS:  Initial attack report 5 acres, "Slow ROS"
  • ROC: Initial report was slow growth potential. at some point it became rapid.
  • Containment: 0%
  • Conditions: 
  • Structure Threats:  Subdivisions to the North may be threatened if growth continues
    Special Hazards: 
  • Fuels:  Ponderosa Pine trees, Grass, Shrubs and Duff 
  • Evacuations: Yes
  • Cause: Prescribed fire ember escape
  • Cooperating Agencies: 
  • Resources:  Elk Creek FPD, North Fork FPD, CSFS, USFS E 11-2, Type 3 IMT ordered, Smokey Bear and Sacramento IHCs assigned, per SWCC.  One air tanker, two IHC's, and one Type 2 IA Crew mobilized from SWA. Additionally, one air tanker and one Type 2IA crew mobilized from Region 3, per SWCC News and Notes.
  • Air Resources: 
  • Comms: 
  • Injuries: 
  • Maps:
  • Weather Info: Red Flag Warning in effect. Southerly winds gusting to 40+ mph 
  • RR Link: 
  • Online scanner:
  • Agency Link:  
Some more Colorado fire info sources:!/jeffcocolorado
Additional Maps:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

RRU: Hiring Firefighter I - Seasonal / Dispatch


Firefighter I - Seasonal 
A Firefighter I is a seasonal, temporary classification used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). Currently, Firefighter I positions are at nine State Fire Stations in Riverside County and serveral County funded stations. (Firefighter I positions at County-funded station will be completely upgraded to permanent Firefighter II positions by 2006) Firefighter I hiring in Riverside usually occurs each April, May, or June, depending upon the upcoming fire season conditions.

minimum qualification to participate in the Fire Fighter I Examination is that you must be 18 years of age at the time of appointment to a Firefighter I position.

You must file a Fire Fighter I application at CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department headquarters located at 210 West San Jacinto Avenue, in Perris to be considered for appointment. The filing period for each fire season is the first business day of November through the last business day of January.

Firefighter II - Permanent A Firefighter II is a permanent position within CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department. Persons selected for employment as a Fire Fighter II are placed in a three-year apprenticeship program. A Firefighter II performs the full-range of fire fighting duties including responding to alarms as a member of an engine crew on such fire apparatus as engines or water tenders, entering burning areas and structures with charged hose lines, and ventilating buildings. A Firefighter II assists in the training of seasonal and volunteer fire fighters and may assist in making fire prevention inspections. Firefighter IIs assist in building, grounds, and equipment maintenance and repair. The exam typically consists of a supplemental application. Permanent appointments are conditional upon successful completion of a CAL FIRE training course. Click here for the Firefighter II minimum qualifications. Click here for a Standard State Application.
Firefighter Paramedic CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department staffs fire engines, squads, and ambulances with fire paramedics throughout the county. In fact, more than two-thirds of the 93 fire stations have paramedics assigned to them.  If you are a certified paramedic and are interested in working for the CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department, click here for a Standard State Application (STD 678).  Riverside County Fire is part of CAL FIRE, and all hiring processes are through the State of California. 
Both jobs require fire experience for minimum qualifications, there are 4 ways to qualify:
  • Documentation of 3 months of full time fire fighting experience   
  • Documentation of 1 year as a certified volunteer fire fighter 
  • Documentation of Completion of a Fire Academy (200-300 hrs)
  • Documentation of 1 year as a Fire Prevention Specialist I and successful completion of the mandatory training courses prescribed for a CDF FFI.
In addition to one of the above, all will be required to meet the following requirements:
  • Valid California paramedic license
  • You will need a valid driver’s license prior to appointment
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
Applications available on the internet at:
Category Links Current Examinations (Careers with CAL FIRE , then Current Applications also see State Employment Application)
State Personnel Board

Note For Career Professional Firefighter Positions: CAL FIRE has an open continuous application process for FFII/Paramedic and FAE/Paramedic. Testing currently occurs twice annually, once the applicants minimum qualifications are verified, the candidate will be notified of the next available testing dates. Candidates must participate in the testing process to be considered for employment. Candidates will only permitted to test once every 12 months.

Click here if you are interested in a rewarding career opportunity as a dispatcher for CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department.

3900 Main St # 3
Riverside, CA 92522
(951) 826-5321
More information: RRU Press Release Link

USFS News: Measuring economic impact of forest fires

Scientists Find New Way to Measure Economic Impact of Forest Fires

Bitterroot National Forest wildfire - (Moose Bath)

RIVERSIDE, Calif.—A team of scientists from the USDA Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station and the University of Córdoba in Spain recently developed a new methodology that measures the economic impact of forest fires on timber resources.

When evaluating and planning fire management program activities, it is important to know the value of the forest ecosystems protected. However, determining the true volume or economic value of the resources lost during a fire can be difficult. For example, when a fire burns through a timber stand, the market value lost can be calculated from the amount of trees destroyed. However, this does not account for the remaining trees in the stand that survived, but may have been so weakened that they are no longer a viable timber resource. To address this gap, scientists developed a new methodology that takes into account timber vulnerability (potential damage), timber harvesting (economic value) and fire behavior (potential fire spread). Specifically, they examined tree stand age, natural regeneration, existing stock volume, estimated mortality of the remaining trees after fire and potential fire behavior. The methodology provides an estimate of the potential net losses from timber production and fire survival probability over different species and stand development stages.

Using Geographic Information Systems, the research team also obtained information on species composition, stand density, and spatial distribution. This information helped the team evaluate fire behavior based on potential occurrence and the spatial characteristics. The study area included all 1.3 million acres of forest of the Córdoba Province in southern Spain's Mediterranean Basin, composed mostly of oaks, pines, aromatic plants, and brush and other understory.

“This work is important because it provides fire managers and planners, as well as budget officers and coordinators, in the U.S. and worldwide a simple, reliable and efficient way to estimate economic impacts of wildfires on timber resources, thus making possible the economic evaluation of investments in fire management programs,” says Armando González-Cabán, a PSW research economist who co-authored the study.

The team's findings are detailed in a recent paper published in the Journal of Environmental Management.
 To read the full article, go to:

Headquartered in Albany, Calif., the Pacific Southwest Research (PSW) develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.–affiliated Pacific Islands. 
For more information, visit
Link to .pdf version

Pacific Southwest Research Station/USDA Forest Service
Science that makes a difference. . .
Contact: Sherri Eng, PSW Research Station Public Affairs,; (510) 559-6327

Monday, March 26, 2012



March 26, 2012 (Spring Valley) –Cal Fire has submitted a request for proposal (RFP)to San Miguel Fire Protection District, the only agency to do so by yesterday’s deadline.

A committee appointed by the District will begin reviewing the proposal March 26 to assure that it meets minimum standards, or metrics, previously determined. The review committee will present its findings to the San Miguel Fire District Board at a March 28 meeting.

“At this point, the Board will begin the discussion process and determine what is in the best interest of the communities and the District,” public information officer Leonard Villareal indicated in a press release issued yesterday. “It is likely parts of the proposal may generate questions.” Any questions will be researched by staff and reported back to the Board at an April 11 meeting.

Both meetings will be held at district headquarters at 2850 Via Orange Way in Spring Valley.

The district is facing its fourth year of declining revenues vs. expenditures and has lost about 20 percent ($2.5 million) of its property tax revenues. Property taxes account for 97% of the district’s revenues.

For the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2012, the district anticipates another budget shortfall of up to $1.6 million. The dire budget shortfall has already led the district to cut fire service from its Dehesa station, which is currently manned only by a two-man paramedic crew.

According to the district, the RFP was issued “in an attempt to eliminate the structural budget deficit, return Fire Station 23 on Dehesa Road back to full staffing/full service, and potentially improve direct emergency service to our customers.”

For additional details or to learn more about upcoming Board meetings, visit

#LAFD Chief angry when questioned on response times

L.A. fire Chief Brian Cummings pressed on slow response times

A sometimes angry Fire Chief Brian Cummings defended his agency Friday against an increasing chorus of criticism over response times, saying to meet the ideal standards would take 89 more stations in Los Angeles.

Cummings' statements came during a City Council Public Safety Committee hearing looking into LAFD response times and other problems with the agency. The department has faced criticism over revelations that it misled the council on how often it meets the national standard of responding to calls within five minutes 90 percent of the time.

"To get to everyone in under five minutes, we would need to add 89 facilities to be that close to every resident in the city," Cummings told the committee.

Cummings was told to return to the committee with more detailed data on response times.

The meeting came at the conclusion of a week of controversy over the LAFD and its ability to respond to emergencies and budget cuts that have reduced its services over the past three years.

Earlier in the week, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced he has hired an outside consultant, Jeff Godown, to serve as interim director of Statistical Analysis and Review. Godown had previously been in charge of the Los Angeles Police Department's CompStat bureau, which was responsible for geographic analysis of crime activity throughout the city.

The mayor also said he will provide funding to have six additional ambulances available throughout the city.

As part of their review, panel members said they want more detailed reports from Cummings and other city officials on the possibility of hiring a third party consultant to analyze the department's response time.

It also asked for a report on developing a FireStat program on where resources are deployed.

Former Chief Millage Peaks developed the current deployment plan, designed to eliminate the modified deployment plan in which 18 units were out of service at any given time.

Councilman Mitch Englander, who chairs the panel, said he recalls a neighborhood council meeting where Cummings said the new system was designed to provide more flexibility for change.

"We held off because any changes we made might have created anomalies in other parts of the city," Cummings said.

Cummings said the department responds to 60 percent of its calls within five minutes(5:59 minutes) and 90 percent within seven minutes, 18 seconds.

Factors that need to be considered are the time of day a call comes in, the geography units must drive through and the distance of a station from the calls, officials said.

Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, blamed the mayor and the City Council for three successive years of budget cuts resulting in the problems facing the department.

"This (deployment) program was sold to you on false pretenses," McOsker said. "We have had constantly changing stories. Every time they speak, the Fire Department has come up with a new story."

Cummings said the department has been compiling all information on exact response times around the city to make available to officials and any consultants hired.

City Controller Wendy Greuel has announced she also plans to review the department's response times.

Newport Beach Fire Department Fire Map Public Meeting

When: Newport Beach Fire Department officials will hold a public outreach meeting for Corona del Mar residents from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: OASIS Senior Center. The OASIS Senior Center is located at Fifth and Marguerite avenues.
Who: Newport Beach Fire Chief Scott Poster invites all Corona del Mar residents to an important meeting at which time he and Fire Marshal Ron Gamble will review the city’s most recent proposed modifications to the CAL FIRE Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone Maps,” according to an email blast from the Corona del Mar Residents Association. “While homes closest to Buck Gully and Morning Canyon are specifically impacted, all residents of Corona del Mar should be aware of the proposed regulations and their impact to our community.”
What: The original fire maps included most of Newport Coast as well as homes along Buck Gully and Morning Canyon and stretches from Orchid down to Crystal Cove. About 5,000 homes would have been affected, with new construction requiring stricter regulation, disclose requirements in real estate transactions and vegetation modification.
In January, the City Council delayed voting on an ordinance to accept those maps because they thought more public outreach and clarification was needed.
Fire officials returned to the council earlier this month with revised maps that removed most of Corona del Mar;
The city’s new fire chief, Scott Poster, based the changes on feedback from the March 9 meeting as well as aerial reconnaissance and wind measurements and patterns in the area.
Why: Learn how this new proposal impacts your current home structures and landscaping, as well as requirements for future remodels or construction,” the email said.
Residents who want to attend the meeting should R.S.V.P. by emailing, along with any specific questions they want to address.

CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott Speaker at Society of American Foresters

 Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott will be the featured speaker at the March meeting of the Sacramento-Tahoe Chapter of the Society of American Foresters

Meeting to be held 7 p.m. March 29 at the Golden Dragon Restaurant, at 3941 Broadway in Placerville.

Director Pimlott, a 23- year Cal Fire veteran who was appointed to be director by Gov. Jerry Brown in July 2011, will discuss the state of the Department and issues relating to fire and resource protection in El Dorado County and throughout the state.

The event is open to the public. An optional dinner preceeding the program will begin at 6 p.m..
 For more information about the program or preceding dinner, please call 916-332-5617.

CAL FIRE: Who let the dogs loose?

Dogs Flee Fire as Water Main Blows

Four small dogs, unhurt, scampered free as firefighters broke down the door to the home on Hennessy Drive where a kitchen fire set off a fire alarm and a broken water main briefly flooded the street Sunday.

Four small dogs were the only family members at home when a kitchen fire broke out midmorning Sunday in the 100 block of Hennessy Drive.

Firefighters from the City of Napa Fire Department and CalFire, responding to a neighbor's report of a fire alarm going off at the house, had to break down the door to gain entry.

The four dogs ran out of the house as firefighters entered to find some food burning on the stove. Three of the pets remained at the scene while one continued running away on Coombsville Road and remained missing Monday.

As firefighters hooked their hoses to the hydrant outside, the water main blew up under the fire engine, spewing water and dirt into the street and causing crews to move the engine.

Water from the engine tank was sufficient to put out the kitchen fire.

CalFire personnel shut off the water service to the main and city repair workers were at the scene Sunday afternoon making repairs.
Source: - Link   

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pacific Gas and Electric told workers to stop labeling leaky pipes

Pacific Gas and Electric allegedly ignored gas 'time bomb,' whistle-blower says
Pacific Gas and Electric Gas Pipe Explosion, San Bruno, CaliforniaA systemwide pipeline survey  turned up many instances of leaking pipes that PG&E did not repair.

PG&E leak surveyor Ken Myers, left, participated in a systemwide pipeline survey that he said turned up many instances of leaking pipes that Pacific Gas and Electric did not repair. He also revealed a company document that told workers to stop labeling leaky pipes.

A PG&E surveyor who participated in a systemwide survey of pipelines in recent years has accused the utility of delaying repairs on leaks he discovered, including some that could pose a danger to people and property.

PG&E’s pipeline system had been under scrutiny even before the 2010 San Bruno explosion, which killed eight people and destroyed a suburban neighborhood. In 2008, after an internal audit found that leaks were being missed, the utility arranged an accelerated leak survey to address the concerns of employees and regulators.

Leak surveyor Ken Myers, who had worked for the company since 1996, was assigned to the project in 2009, and he said he soon realized Pacific Gas and Electric was not keeping up with its required repair schedule.

Federal regulations do not require gas utilities to repair very minor leaks; instead, they must be monitored regularly in case they become hazardous. But according to notes and records Myers and a colleague provided, sometimes leaks deemed to be hazardous during the recent survey were not repaired within the required time frame.

One leak in front of a business in Redding was still seeping gas five months after he checked it, Myers said. The escaping substance, first documented in 1991, consisted of 12 percent natural gas in July 2011. Myers determined it needed to be repaired in 90 days. Yet when he and several colleagues returned with California Public Utilities Commission inspectors in November, the leak was spewing 95 percent natural gas. Myers said the group called a PG&E repair crew right away.

“Pacific Gas and Electric has been getting away with this for years,” Myers said. “We’re basically sitting on a ticking time bomb.”

Pacific Gas and Electricspokesman Brian Swanson was not familiar with Myers’ allegations, but said the utility takes whistle-blowers seriously.

“We strongly encourage our employees to voice safety concerns,” he said. “If Mr. Myers has specific information, we will investigate those concerns.”

Myers said he and his colleagues also found numerous gas leaks in or around customers’ meters. While most of the leaks are probably not dangerous, when gas is leaking from the customer’s side of a meter, it does affect the customer’s bill.

Until recently, surveyors placed a yellow zip tie on a meter to indicate that it was leaking and needed repair the next time a technician visited a home or business, Myers said. But last November, Pacific Gas and Electric sent a memo to surveyors asking them to stop the practice because it “caused customer concern.”

Swanson said the zip ties had been used by leak surveyors to inform gas service representatives that they needed to make repairs. But service workers now have their own sensitive equipment, he said, negating the need for the indicator.

“Really, we’re talking about very tiny leaks,” Swanson said, adding that they were being repaired as part of an “ongoing and aggressive action to address customer concern.”

Swanson said the utility planned to repair all meter leaks, which number about 150,000, by the end of 2013.
The zip tie memo alarmed Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who laid out his concerns this month in a letter to the CPUC.

“A customer certainly has a right to know and should know if there’s a leak at their house,” Hill said. “When you keep hearing, almost weekly, of things like this, it’s a problem.”

Richard Steffen, an aide to Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo County, said Myers’ claims about meter leaks were troubling, especially since homeowners were not informed.

“They have a right to know, even if it’s not a risk,” Steffen said.

Steffen said Speier’s correspondence with the utilities commission suggested that there was little to fear from leaks, beyond the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But ideally, he said, the utilities commission should do its own leak inspections, rather than relying solely on PG&E to provide accurate information.

“We want them out in the field,” he said.

A spokesman for the regulator declined to comment.

About the leaks:
Pacific Gas and Electric says it has about 200,000 active leak indications, most of which have been deemed non-hazardous.

0 at Grade 1
Deemed hazardous. Immediate repair required.

  • 445 at Grade 2+ Leak is not immediately hazardous but could be hazardous in the future; must be repaired within 90 days.
  • 4,200 at Grade 2 Not immediately hazardous but must be repaired within 15 months (formerly 18 months).
  • 45,690 at Grade 3 Not hazardous and can reasonably be expected to remain non-hazardous. Must be recorded and monitored every 15 months (previously 5 years).
  • 150,000 ungraded meter leaks - Leaking from an aboveground apparatus. Usually nonhazardous.
    Source: Pacific Gas and Electric

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.

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