Staff Ride PART TWO - Do the Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Rides by Arizona State Forestry provide that sp
Staff Ride PART TWO - Do The Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Rides by Arizona State Forestry provide that specific perspective of strategy, technology, and leadership? After reviewing the 52 page Facilitator Guide - did you even take that route that day?
2018-12-08 | Arizona Desert Walker Joy A. Collura and contributing other(s)
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Does the Arizona State Forestry actually virtually "walk" the participants through the Staff Ride before even going out there - like role playing in a class room setting - before walking the actual terrain? Do they pick a name out of a hat and you are that person for that fire that day and let's see how one would be in decision-making and action(s) before even setting foot out there?
I personally will never understand why Blue Ridge Hot Shot (BRHS) Superintendent Brian Frisby, who we, the hikers (Tex Harold Eldon Gilligan "Sonny" and myself Joy A Collura) watched June 30, 2013, and the alleged Granite Mountain Hot Shot (GMHS) "lookout" Donut were never asked to take a Staff Ride together, as we are the living people who were on those Weaver Mountains that day, plus the "Mystery Man" and the USFS Air Attack personnel. That is and would be a much needed Staff Ride with those names on the roster.
On one of the staff rides where Brian Frisby did participate during the After Action Review ( AAR ) some of the SMEs or participants stated that Frisby was "a distraction" ... Are you kidding me, a distraction? So how can someone that was actually there, who was part of the actions and decision making of the day and the final, fatal outcomes be a distraction? How about if "they" are intent on concealing the truth about what happened on June 30, 2013? Then I can see how "they" and their small minds would consider BRHS Supt. Frisby a "distraction."
If they want participants to know the actual truth(s) about what occurred, rather than just a story, please refer to Dr. Ted Putnam's YHFR post titled: "May I Introduce Wildland Fire's Top Notch Person ... Dr. Ted Putnam ... His Life Example Inspires Others To Become More ... Wouldn't You Agree?" and his IAWF (2011) paper titled: "Accidents, accident guides, stories and the truth."
( https://www.yarnellhillfirerevelations.com/single-post/2018/10/15/May-I-Introduce-Wildland-Fires-Top-Notch-Person-Dr-Ted-Putnam-His-Life-Example-Inspires-Others-To-Become-More-Wouldnt-You-Agree )
I find it quite necessary, as we go along, to virtually bring all the Fire Industry groups together to discuss Lessons Learned, and how doctrine has or has not changed, and any insights that may apply to future conflicts. Who currently are the leaders guiding these Staff Rides? Are they of the "Go Along To Get Along" ilk or Someone Who Has The Stones To Talk Truth To Power If They See Something That's Not Right? Why are they ruling out and discounting or disenfranchising these folks who ask about any burnout operations as if it never happened? Why are they stating it was as simple as the wind changed and hooked off Harper Canyon? Why won't they take the time and effort to measure the plume distance between another? Why won't they pull all the Air Attack documentation, including AFUE recordings, and placing a true recollect of what occurred on June 30, 2013?
I state firmly, if "Todd Abel," smiling with a smirk on a Staff Ride as some firefighters state they have seen him in the oddest areas, I would be bringing in Mr. Joe Navarro (internationally recognized Body Language expert; spent 25 years at the FBI), and other recognized Body Language experts: Henrik Fexeus, Mark Bowden, Carole Railton, Patti Wood, Eric Goulard, Allan Pease, Robert Phipps, Paul Ekman, Mark Edgar Stephens, Traci Brown, Sharon Sayler, Patryk Wezowski, Carol Kinsey Goman, Amy Cuddy, Vincent Harris, Vanessa Van Edwards, Jan Hargrave, Dr. Lillian Glass, Greg Williams, Janine Driver, Bill Acheson, Dr. David Matsumoto, Stu Dunn, Elizabeth Kuhnke, Susan Constantine, Judi James, Linda Talley, Alice Weiser, and finally Tonya Reiman to "read" these June 30, 2013 YH fire IMT personnel, instructors, and facilitators. Because I have no idea how anyone can have any facial expression except what you see on Thirty Mile Fire Fatality (2001) survivor Thom Taylor's face in Figure 12. That man gives me "hope" in the Fire Industry, when I know a man like him exists and is actively involved in Lessons Learned and spreading the truth about these fatality fires.
Figure 27. Page Twenty-seven of 52 of Stand Four "The Closing Window" Source: AZ State Forestry
Figure 28. Page Twenty-Eight of 52 (Stand Four - "The Closing Window") of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Students of Fire question block:
1) Could having your daily supervisor as your fireline supervisor affect your operation? It certainly did on the YH Fire on June 30, 2013, when DIVS A Marsh prudently "allowed" Steed to manage the GMHS throughout the day until later in the afternoon when he irrationally refused to relinquish control of the GMHS; arguing with Steed, attempting to coerce (and threaten) him and the GMHS to leave the back.
2) Have you ever worked for your daily supervisor on the fireline wherein it created an awkward situation? No. However, WFs and WF supervisors I have talked with tell me it has gone both ways with them until they asserted the key factor that they were ultimately responsible for the safety and welfare of those these supervise - no matter what. And for some, they shared that it was awkward.
Figure 29. Page Twenty-Nine of 52 (Stand Five - Fatality Site "Realized Ultimate Reality" - Window Closed - The Loss Never Greater: The Bond Never Stronger) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Students of Fire block questions:
1) What effect does retardant have on the effectiveness of fire shelters? I have been told by many WFs and FFs that if you have to rely on either one of them to survive, then you (or someone else) has really f**ked up! And talking with many WFs and FFs on the YH fire that day, and reading the mostly unredacted BRHS interview notes, I would say very ineffective, counter productive by unsystematically making uncoordinated drops that complicated suppression and tactics by splitting heads, and in several cases very unsafe.
2) How long does it take to get a drop? This kinda seems like a stupid question. My first inclination is to state that this is a really stupid question to ask a WF or FF. I have no wildland fire experience other than my time on The Weavers in June 2013, and what I have heard from experienced WFs and FFs, and I can tell you that is a really stupid question! It takes as long as it takes. Besides, we are told to never rely on air support.
3) How do you make your position known to aviation? Really? Is that really a legitimate question? How about the basic stuff they teach us in S-130 and S-270.
Figure 30. Page Thirty of 52 (Stand Five - Fatality Site "Realized Ultimate Reality" - Orienting images: Fatality site looking SE toward Yarnell) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 31. Page Thirty-One of 52 (GMHS Ashcraft, Caldwell, Carter, and DeFord) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 32. Page Thirty-Two of 52 (GMHS MacKenzie, Marsh, McKee, and Misner) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 33. Page Thirty-Three of 52 (GMHS Norris, Parker, Percin, and Rose) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 34. Page Thirty-Four of 52 (GMHS Steed, Thurston, Turbyfill, and Warneke) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 35. Page Thirty-Five of 52 (GMHS Whitted, Woyjeck, and Zuppinger) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 36. Page Thirty-Six of 52 (Stand Six - Pioneer Cemetery - "The Courage To Be" - A New Window!) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Contained in the "Learning Theme Implementation" section above, they philosophically assert that "resilience ... is for us the living" and we are to "carry on the work of those who have gone before." We are then told that "Death is a natural part of the journey of life - and should be met with hope in the head and heart, leaving fear astern."
Whoa now, that is pretty deep! I would certainly learn lessons from and "carry on the work of those who have gone before" WFs and FFs that have survived wildfires by following the basic wildland firefighting Rules and Guidelines, while providing good, sound leadership. However, I would completely avoid "carry[ing] on the work of [the GMHS] who have gone before."
And I completely agree with this one that: "Death is a natural part of the journey of life - and should be met with hope in the head and heart, leaving fear astern." However, the GMHS deaths were UNNATURAL! Most of these men had there lives stolen from them, taken from them as the result of poor supervisory decisions failing to recognize that their primary supervisory responsibility is to ensure, to the best of their ability, the safety and welfare of those they supervise, no matter what.
Figure 37. Page Thirty-Seven of 52 (Stand Six - "The Courage To Be") of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 38. Page Thirty-Eight of 52 (Stand Six - "The Courage To Be" post from John A. Leeuene on Resilience - Extracts from The Reminiscences of a Marine - Dorrance and Company Publishers ) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Consider now some of the select quotes from these "The Courage to Be" excerpts. "If each man knows that all the officers and men in his division are animated with the same fiery zeal as he himself feels, unquenchable courage and unconquerable determination crush out fear, and death becomes preferable to defeat or dishonor." (emphasis added) Are you friggin' kidding me? Definitely a bit of Groupthink and a Trip to Abilene here where "death becomes preferable to defeat or dishonor."
"Fortunate indeed is the leader who commands such men, and it is his most sacred day to purify his own soul and cast out from it all unworthy motives, for men are quick to detect pretense or insecurity in their leader, and worse than useless as a leader is the man in whom they find evidences of hypocrisy or undue timidity, or whose acts do not square with his words." (emphasis added)
They certainly sound noble for military men and women engaged or training to be engaged in combat, but for WFs and FFs engaged in the quasi-military world of wildland firefighting? No way! What the f**k are we teaching our WFs and FFs with these alleged "inspiring" quotes? Did the GMHS train on this drivel?
It is unknown whether the GMHS read or was aware of this paper and these quotes. It certainly appears the the GMHS followed the John A. Lejeune quote on Resiliency above: "If each man knows that all the officers and men in his division are animated with the same fiery zeal as he himself feels, unquenchable courage and unconquerable determination crush out fear, and death becomes preferable to defeat or dishonor." (emphasis added) Especially and disturbingly, the "death becomes preferable to defeat or dishonor" part.
Figure 39. Page Thirty-Nine of 52 of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Now that which is written on Page 39 is an actually beneficial and meaningful inspiring leadership quote worth following!
Figure 40. Page Forty of 52 (Marsh (March 2013) GMHS - To Be - Who We Are - "To Be rather than to Seem To Be" )of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 41. Page Forty-One of 52 (Final Thoughts - Lessons Available and Perhaps Learned) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
The high nighttime temperatures mentioned above by Robert Bates are covered in these wildland fire weather research papers addressing the aggressive fire behavior potential that occurs the day after the highest nighttime temperatures. Lightning is not addressed.
(6.4a) THE INFLUENCE OF DRY SLOTS ON WILDLAND FIRE GROWTH DURING THE 2011 ARIZONA FIRE SEASON
( https://www.academia.edu/19859148/6.4A_THE_INFLUENCE_OF_DRY_SLOTS_ON_WILDLAND_FIRE_GROWTH_DURING_THE_2011_ARIZONA_FIRE_SEASON )
Dry Slots and Dry Intrusions Visible in Water Vapor Imagery are Responsible for Rapid Surface Drying, Increased Gusty Winds, and Intensified Fire Potential
( https://www.academia.edu/33046239/Dry_Slots_and_Dry_Intrusions_Visible_in_Water_Vapor_Imagery_are_Responsible_for_Rapid_Surface_Drying_Increased_Gusty_Winds_and_Intensified_Fire_Potential_-_Sheff_LLC.pptx )
Figure 42. Page Forty-Two of 52 Final Thoughts - Lessons Available and Perhaps Learned) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Please note the "Hindsight Bias" blurb and avoid being swayed by that SOMETIMES true statement. There are clearly times - like the YH Fire - where there is NO WAY you or your Crew would have made those decisions or fatal moves that day. There is no friggin' way! And feel confident feeling that way, thinking that way, and making those statements. I allege that this is a typical Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC) maneuver whenever one of them is part of a Staff Ride; it is a subtly underhanded, deceitful, and scheming influential spew on all "official" Staff Rides in order to get you to question your beliefs on what works. You know what's right and what works safely, so stay the course!
"A stupid decision that works out well becomes a brilliant decision in hindsight." Daniel Kahneman
Nassim Taleb [Black Swan] writes of our tendency to ignore the failures: “We favor the visible, the embedded, the personal, the narrated, and the tangible; we scorn the abstract.”
Survivorship Bias: The Tale of Forgotten Failures ( https://fs.blog/2019/12/survivorship-bias/ ) "Don’t look just at what you can see. Consider all the things that started on the same path but didn’t make it. Try to figure out their story, as there is as much, if not more, to be learned from failure.
"Whenever you read about a success story in the media, think of all the people who tried to do what that person did and failed. Of course, understanding survivorship bias isn’t an excuse for not taking action, but rather an essential tool to help you cut through the noise and understand the world. If you’re going to do something, do it fully informed." (emphasis added)
Figure 43. Page Forty-Three of 52 (Supplemental Maps and Readings) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 44. Page Forty-Four of 52 (General Fire Environment Factors) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
It will be well worth your time to research Robert Bates' (1962) research paper tiled: "A Key to Blow-up Conditions in the Southwest?" regarding the potential effects of high nighttime temperatures on explosive fire behavior potential.
Fire Management Today, Volume 63, Summer 2003 - Wildland Fire Behavior Case Studies and Analyses: Part 1
( https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiq_MmI69LoAhWJJzQIHV5-DCYQFjADegQIBRAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fs.fed.us%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Ffire-management-today%2F63-3_0.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3z6Ec9CzUyt9v1YpinmWjv )
Figure 45. Page Forty-Five of 52 (Stand One - Defining Success) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride with embedded GMHS hiking up the hill on the two-track road the morning of June 30th photo by Joy A. Collura Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 46. Page Forty-Six of 52 (Stand Four -"Closing the Window") of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 47. Page Forty-Seven of 52 (Stand Four -"Closing the Window") of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 48. Page Forty-Eight of 52 (Stand Five - Realized Ultimate Reality) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 49. Page Forty-Nine of 52 (YH Fire Infrared Heat Perimeter Map July 3, 2013) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 50. Page Fifty of 52 (Notes page) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 51. Page Fifty-One of 52 (Field Map - Congress Quad) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 52. Page Fifty-Two of 52 (Staff Ride Stand Progression) of the "official" Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride Source: Arizona State Forestry
Figure 53. The differences in Case Study, Site Visit and Staff Rides. Source: Fire Leadership.gov
Consider now the compare and contrast of learning nothing from history first, followed by learning lessons from it.
George Bernard Shaw said: “We learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.”
"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." Aldous Huxley
"Rulers, Statesmen, Nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history. But what experience and history teach is this - that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone." G. W. F. Hegel
Leaving disillusionment aside we can now turn to some glimmers of hope that actually learning lessons from history is in fact possible.
"Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us therefore study the incidents in this as philosophy to learn wisdom from and none of them as wrongs to be avenged." Abraham Lincoln (in the context of The American Civil War of 1861 to 1865)
"In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind." Edmund Burke
"The record of the past can have a great deal of significance, but the events themselves have significance only if you approach them from a philosophical standpoint and ask the right questions. Otherwise it would be just the same thing all over again.” Unknown author
“Study the past if you would define the future.” Confucius
“Without making mistakes, there won't be lessons learned. Without getting hurt, there won't be knowledge gained. The only way we grow is by learning from the past. Always be willing to learn and grow daily. It's how we come to know who we are and what we are made of.” Kemi Sogunle
"The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual - for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost." M. Scott Peck
I now hope my post helps you define what type of experience you had out there on the Weavers. If you are still left scratching your head then please reach out to me, so we can help you with getting clarity.
Figure 54. Chris LeDoux - Tougher Than The Rest video Source: YOUTUBE
I would like to close with this Chris LeDoux "Tougher Than The Rest" song versus images as I usually do because it reminds me of this one fire where this guy was dancing the night away and something an IM Commenter told me about. Here is to T R U T H. I have not given up. Meet ya at the Backburner. My treat. ( https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/history )
“Have nothing to do with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Timothy 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better." Harry S Truman
Updates: Ensured figures, captions, and font uniformity; corrected minor grammatical, logic, and spelling errors; addressed many Student of Fire comments and questions, added learning from history quotes; Conjunctive and Disjunctive Events Bias; April 11-13, 2020