Three weeks before Station fire, USFS ordered reduction in use of state & local firefighters

The LA Times has the story about how three weeks before the 160,000-acre Station fire near Los Angeles, the Regional Forester for the U. S. Forest Service sent a memo to the forest supervisors in California ordering them to minimize the use of state and local firefighting resources as a cost reduction measure. Federal firefighters make far less money than their state and local brethren. 

Here is an excerpt from the LA Times article:

An internal memorandum obtained by The Times instructed forest supervisors in the Pacific Southwest region to replace non-federal crews “as appropriate” and with the service’s own personnel and equipment “as quickly as possible.”

Forest Service officials have denied that cost concerns led them to deploy fewer ground crews and helicopters from Los Angeles County on the second morning of the Station fire.

Today, the No. 2 official in the Forest Service, Associate Chief Hank Kashdan, said the Aug. 5 memo should have had “nothing to do with our approach to suppressing a large fire, or a fire that’s going at any present time.”

Kashdan nevertheless said a Forest Service investigation of the attack on the Station blaze would examine whether budget worries had influenced the judgment of those deploying firefighters and equipment.

“It’s fair to everybody to let that investigation run its course and see what the review finds,” he said.

 

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2 thoughts on “Three weeks before Station fire, USFS ordered reduction in use of state & local firefighters”

  1. The memo was all about WFPR (Preparedness) cost savings vs, actual WFSU (Suppression) costs as allocated and appropriated by Congress. It had something to do with the failed concept of "doing more with less" that never made sense.To make up for the piss poor WFPR planning by the Forest Service, it was decided that "fed only" would be applied to fires to balance the books in a way only a few select folks could understand.As a result, normally funded WFPR expenditures for preparedness (through smoke and mirrors) would charge their regularly funded "base time" as WFSU…. suppression related costs and the piss poor planning for preparedness would somehow go away.It backfired as the smoke cleared and folks actually focused on the real problem.The FWFSA has been addressing this issue for over a decade.

  2. Hank Kashdan is well trusted as an expert in delivering safe, effective, and efficient fire management programs (fully tongue in cheek). He killed the Forest Service as we know it due to piss poor decisions made from an ivory tower without listening to the field.As many of you will remember, as Chief of Business Operations, Kashdan was the chief architect in the ASC debacle that completely caused the Forest Service to implode and struggle to try and regain course. We never did… and won’t correct course until new leadership is allowed to lead.The letter written by Ed Hollenshead in the Correspondence Database (signed by a cronie non-fire A.D. in the RO) and supposedly approved by Randy Moore by his presence in the office somewhere (Regional Forester) is a root (recurring) systemic failure…… It was taken as it was written and forced upon the field….. Line Authority from the Chief of the Forest Service. I’m really concerned that the architect that f-ed up Forest Service so badly is now the Associate Chief and still screwing the pooch so badly without being replaced or "promoted" to where he can do no harm……. In the real world…… He would have been fired outright for incompetence…… NOT PROMOTED to cause further harm and mismanagement.WTF is going on.Every person involved in this mess needs to speak up so the **** rolls uphill to the ultimate decision makers….. not the end users who have been forced to trod in the merde left behind by poor decisions of the past.JMHO as a 28 year firefighter still swimming in the sewage of poor decisions and business models that don’t work. I love the Forest Service and the Forest Service family.KenP.S. – WE can do better.

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