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  • Writer's pictureJOY A COLLURA

Part 5 - Do our Wildland Fire (WF) Instructors foster "complete" lessons learned in the WF culture?

Authors - S130 / S190 / L180 Lead Instructor Fred J. Schoeffler and Co-Instructor / SME ( YH Fire ) Joy A. Collura


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Continuing from "Part 1c - Do our Wildland Fire (WF) Instructors foster "complete" lessons learned in the WF culture?"...due to this message when trying to put blog on said I had to break part one into several posts:


Former Naval Commander Abrashoff brings up some good points about challenging authority: "In business, as in the Navy, there is a general understanding that 'they' don’t want rules to be questioned or challenged. For employees, the 'they' is the managers; for managers, the 'they' is the executive cadre. I worked hard at convincing my crew that I did want the rules to be questioned and challenged, and that 'they' is 'us.' One of the ways I demonstrated my commitment was to question and challenge rules to my bosses. In the end, both the bosses and my crew listened." (emphasis added) ( Abrashoff 2020 )

Borrowing from Dayal, talking about Yale professor Edward Tufte, the man that took a strong stance against the practice of using mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations, I (DF) encourage you to seek out these types of potential young leaders that are "marvelously and vigorously different, ... [have a] penchant for questioning authority, and ... drive to figure out how a complicated system works from the inside. ... nerds, ... misfits; ... a little more different. ... At some level, we as a society understand that there is a benefit to having curious people, people who continually push the limits, who try new things. But we’d prefer they not go too far; that makes us uncomfortable.' ... There is a societal benefit ... to tolerating, perhaps even nurturing … the crazy ones - the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. (emphasis added) (Dayal - 2013 - Slate)

Notice how I encouraged you to seek out these types of potential young leaders. For the most part, these folks think out-of-the-box, are unafraid to question authority, and comfortable pushing the envelope. And because of all those qualities, they generally make good supervisors. Give them some leadership training, a radio, and make them responsible for supervising increasing more WFs / FFs in safely and productively accomplishing a task at a time. Hold them accountable.

"In real life, the skill and creativity in ethical thinking about complex cases are in finding the right way of framing the problem. The more contextual knowledge and experience a thinker has, the more they have to draw on in coming to a wise decision." (emphasis added)

Are thoughts experiments experiments at all? Or something else? And do they help us think clearly about ethics or not?

Figure 22. Ryan P. Helms pretending what a "Death By Power Point" looks like from a Student's chair late afternoon. Source: Joy A. Collura

We need to discuss the phrase "DEATH BY POWERPOINT" and what changes can be made to avoid hearing that year after year. If you are, or going to be, a WF, then you are going to have to get used to the fact that we must follow the NWCG Guidelines on the number of minimum hours with some leeway allowed in the content. Allowing for a lot more positive, fervent, and professional input from the Instructors instead of the rote, NWCG blather would be most welcome.

Consider now some ways to avoid what Hedges (2014 - Forbes) called 'felony-level PowerPoint abuse.' ...Interestingly, 'research suggests that the human attention span is getting shorter – and now may be as little as five minutes. So then, if you want to keep people invested, it is crucial to create audience engagement. I want to take a moment and share about someone. I, Joy A Collura, may pick on Brad Mayhew on InvestigativeMEDIA for the SAIT-SAIR and that they may have placed a SAIT-SAIR product out in a limited time, yet he has had a website where he could have, long after, made some of those wrongs right. However, I have to applaud his "room presence" and how he engages an audience at a Conference. Thumbs up, Mayhew. Most presentations resemble monologues, and gradually numb an audience to what you’re saying. An interactive presentation is an engaging one, so ask questions, and design group exercises that get people talking; situations where people can add real value.' (emphasis added) (Forbes)

In addition, 'Most people,' according to Hedges, 'who have endured a terrible PowerPoint presentation will have experienced boredom, followed by frustration, then anger that it took up an hour - or possibly even more - of their lives, and that is time that they will never get back.' (emphasis added) (2014 - Forbes) That is a most unique way to get her 'hostage' point across.

According to Wakefield (BBC), along those same lines, 'a really good visual presentation needs unique photos.' (2015) Wildland fire fatalities - very realistic - though most times depressing, have no problem 'weaving a story that people can relate to, or at least a presentation that accounts for the anxieties, hopes and questions that your audience might have. ... give your audience something that they can relate to.' (emphasis added) (Farshad - 2020 -


What follows are several images of very detailed, very confusing NASA PowerPoint slides titled "Review of Test Data and the backstory behind it.

Figure 23. Review of Columbia Space Shuttle Test Data Powerpoint Slide Source: NASA

Figure 23a-b. Detailed Analysis of Columbia Space Shuttle Test Data Powerpoint Slide Source: NASA

The fact is we know that PowerPoint kills.

Edward Tufte, a Professor at Yale University and expert in communication reviewed the slideshow the Boeing engineers had given NASA, in particular the above slide. His findings were tragically profound.

Firstly, the slide had a misleadingly reassuring title claiming that test data pointed to the tile being able to withstand the foam strike. This was not the case but the presence of the title, centered in the largest font makes this seem the salient, summary point of this slide. This helped Boeing’s message be lost almost immediately.

Secondly, the slide contains four different bullet points with no explanation of what they mean. This means that interpretation is left up to the reader. Is number 1 the main bullet point? Do the bullet points become less important or more? It’s not helped that there’s a change in font sizes as well. In all with bullet points and indents six levels of hierarchy were created. This allowed NASA managers to imply a hierarchy of importance in their head: the writing lower down and in smaller font was ignored. Actually, this had been where the contradictory (and most important) information was placed.

Thirdly, there is a huge amount of text, more than 100 words or figures on one screen. Two words, ‘SOFI’ and ‘ramp’ both mean the same thing: the foam. Vague terms are used. Sufficient is used once, significant or significantly, five times with little or no quantifiable data. As a result this left a lot open to audience interpretation. How much is significant? Is it statistical significance you mean or something else?

Finally the single most important fact, that the foam strike had occurred at forces massively out of test conditions, is hidden at the very bottom. Twelve little words which the audience would have had to wade through more than 100 to get to. If they even managed to keep reading to that point. In the middle it does say that it is possible for the foam to damage the tile. This is in the smallest font, lost.

NASA’s subsequent report criticised technical aspects along with human factors. Their report mentioned an over-reliance on PowerPoint: “The Board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA.”

NASA’s subsequent report criticised technical aspects along with human factors. Their report mentioned an over-reliance on PowerPoint: “The Board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA.”

Edward Tufte’s full report makes for fascinating reading. Since being released in 1987 PowerPoint has grown exponentially to the point where it is now estimated than thirty million PowerPoint presentations are made every day. Yet, PowerPoint is blamed by academics for killing critical thought. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has banned it from meetings. Typing text on a screen and reading it out loud does not count as teaching. An audience reading text off the screen does not count as learning. Imagine if the engineers had put up a slide with just: “foam strike more than 600 times bigger than test data.” Maybe NASA would have listened. Maybe they wouldn’t have attempted re-entry. Next time you’re asked to give a talk remember Columbia. Don’t just jump to your laptop and write out slides of text. Think about your message. Don’t let that message be lost amongst text. Death by PowerPoint is a real thing. Sometimes literally. Thanks for reading - Jamie

Mcdreeamie Musings

''In a sense, the real fault of upper management is they didn't look beneath the optimistic surface of the reports of their subordinates,'' he said. Edward R. Tufte, a professor emeritus at Yale University and an expert in the visual presentation of evidence

With everyone focused on screens, no one – least of all the speaker – is internalizing the argument in a way that tests its strength.

Brigadier General McMaster, of the US military, subsequently liken the proliferation of PP presentation in the military to an “internal threat”, saying: “It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control. Some problems are not bullet-izable.”

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat."

Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. (Bumiller -2010 -NYT)

Senior officers say the program does come in handy when the goal is not imparting information, as in briefings for reporters. The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.” (Gralla - 2010 - ComputerWorld)

In PowerPoint, The facts are, simply, the facts. Since they are presented on a screen as facts, they almost become facts, even if they aren’t facts, or aren’t quite facts yet. Presentation is legitimization. ( Pavlick - 2012 - Spectrum Culture)

Figure 24. Ryan P. Helms showing you he was just kidding for my "camera" to make a point on "Death by Powerpoint". He was never asleep. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 25. After I arrived back from a day of guiding two Students the NWCG S130 / S190 / L180 course at Gila County Community College, EAC - Payson College Campus, I was greeted by local elk thankful Ryan was not on one of those O.C. hikes we did. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 26. First Year of the S-190 S-190 Student Evaluation Task Sheets - (Jeremy A Fultz) Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 27. First Year of the S-190 S-190 Student Evaluation Task Sheets - (Ryan P Helms) Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 28. Captain Jeffery Yungkans Old Business Card Source: Joy A. Collura

During the COVID 19 Phase, Captain Jeffery Yungkans- "last minute" - helped with some sections of the course- "HUGE THANK YOU" to Hellsgate Fire Department.

Figure 29. Captain Jeffery Yungkans showed how to operate the pumps Source: Joy A. Collura

We, as Instructors, had a current hybrid Wildland Firefighter show us the pumps and other areas and how they are being used in 2020, especially during the COVID 19 Phase.

The Lead Instructor did share his "old way" tips as well. I never been on an actual Agency fire yet I have been on Private Sector ones so my input at this time still is not of first hand experience with any Wildland Fire agencies so I ensured that Wildland Firefighters who are "current" with COVID 19 Phase showed the Students.

Figure 29a. Captain Jeffery Yungkans showed Wildland Tools Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 29b. Captain Jeffery Yungkans showed Wildland Tools. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 29c. Captain Jeffery Yungkans showed Wildland Firing Operation Tools - Fusees Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 29d. Captain Jeffery Yungkans showed us his Wildland Firefighter Pack and its contents Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 29e. Captain Jeffery Yungkans showed the types of Wildland Fire Trucks and where they are used on a Wildland Fire Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 29f. Captain Jeffery Yungkans showed us all the hoses and sections and parts to a Type 6 Wildland Fire truck Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 30. Field Exercise Day / Fire Shelters Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 30a. Joy A Collura - Field Exercise / Fire Shelter Day - With special guest "Joe Martin" of Monument Fire (2012) present his Fire journey. Thank you Joe. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 30b. The Social Distancing Kind of Bump Up - Leap Frog Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 30c. Constructing Handline Techniques and Rehab Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 30d. Fire Shelter Exercise Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 30e. ROYAL Pain in the Behind Fire Shelter Folding Time. Royal PITA Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 31. Back to the class ... Field Exercise Time over Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 32. Class Time Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 33. WUI Section of S-130 Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 33a. Alibierto's Lunch Receipt - Number 19 customer Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 34. Class Time Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 34a. Class Time. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 34b. Class Time Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 35. Class Time Source: Joy A. Collura

The whiteboard drawing (above) in Figure 35, is us examining and discussing and critiquing one of the several prongs of the Downhill Checklist on Page 9, which paradoxically coincides nicely with "Watch Out #9 - Building line downhill with fire below." However, I take umbrage with - and hereby challenge - the prong that says: "Fireline will not lie in or adjacent to a chute or chimney." We think that most, if not all, WFs love to use ridges as a control feature. And by creative design, ALL ridges "lie in or adjacent to a chute or chimney." So then, it's just natural to cautiously, selectively, judiciously build fireline downhill on ridgetops with fire below when those select, opportune times present themselves.

And remember, the original version was the "13 Situations That Shout Watch Out" as seen in the February 26, 2009 Wildfire Today article with the same name. They then became the "18 Watch Out Situations" in 1987 patterned after the NWCG "Standards for Survival" course. These are things we experience on every shift on every wildfire. Therefore, when we experience them or perform them, we are to watch out while applying LCES and the Fire Orders.

Figure 35a. Congrats Jeremy and Ryan. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 35b. Congrats Jeremy and Ryan Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 35c. FireWiZe SolutionZ - Environmentally Friendly! (928) 970-0920 Jeremy A. Fultz- Owner ( Firewise Prevention(s), Lot Clearing, Thinning, Hauling, Trimming, Recycling ) Source: Joy A. Collura

When the frame says "certified" for Jeremy and Ryan - just meant they got their basic wildland certification and on their way to being tied to a local agency. Jeremy is advancing in his Wildland Fire education and in the process to get pack test. Ryan did his pack test and tied in with Captain Chad StLuka (Christopher Kohls Fire Dept) and headed to his first Wildland Fire - Ocotillo ( Cave Creek, Arizona ) late day May 30th, 2020.

The Work Capacity Test (WCT) is a series of tests used to determine the capabilities of an individual and ensure he/she is physically able to perform the duties of wildland firefighting. This test is required by every federal agency/bureau before an Incident Qualification Card (red card) can be issued.

I have not done this "WCT" yet but prepared to do an audit if permitted.

In the Fall of 2018, Sean Ware, Prescott Fire Cache, Assistant Manager. U.S. Forest Service, taught me to put as much descriptions as you can on your Resume / Job Application.

I scratched my head because how do you describe the kind of "housewife hiker" I have been? I have been told by family and friends and hubby they are proud for pursuing T R U T H yet how does that make it on some job application? The norm to apply are the young or ones sick of working those 9 to 5 schedules. My style of living I am already shown the great opportunities to travel, lead either an active lifestyle or Academic one and I continue to serve communities on Wildfires just not fighting any fires through any Agencies yet have assisted Private Sectors especially on Forensic Weather tips. The only difference between me and the ones tied to federal, state, or local levels- I receive no financial gains and I work all year long on gaining education and tools to uncover the biggest lie in Wildland Fire history - the Yarnell Hill Fire - I eye-witnessed.

I will do my best to build skills and qualifications and always willing to "brush up" on my outdoor skills and mannerisms. I will keep my will, power of attorney, life insurance policy and etc. all in order as I keep peeling the layers of the lies.

Wildland firefighting is an extremely hazardous profession with HAZ pay yet nothing like we do all these years in our research -never getting a dime putting all our energy and monies in the difficult right thing to do.

Before Ryan or Jeremy leave for Fire Season 2020, I made sure to cover all possible areas and every season all Firefighters should make sure all their affairs are in order and I do not mean "love" ones but "loved" ones. While we spent extra time and hours outside the NWCG protocols with Ryan and Jeremy and that training and safety precautions may reduce the risk of injury and or death for any wildland firefighter, it remains a possibility. I know they gained the basics and then some. I hope they continue to gain knowledge and education and have safe Fire Seasons year after year.

People ask me after all these certifications will I become a Wildland Firefighter to an Agency? I am aiming to do Law and Fire Investigator with Forensic Weather- God-willing, because in the end it is God's path I am on.

I always have to now remember due to recently learning from Fred J Schoeffler of the work capacity test (WCT). If you don't meet the requirements for the test initially, you have two weeks in which to take it again. If unsuccessful the second time, you will likely not be accepted for the position. The WCT is often referred to as the pack test because it requires applicants to hike several miles with a 45-pound pack. I know my public sharing on my health - I have always through my Courses and Conferences kept my medical clearance form and or status nearby. I have not yet shared all that with the world but when my life chapter is completed than you will all get to see that area.

If you just were released from the prison system and unsure what career path you want to go into- reach me. There are no federal or state laws in the US that prohibit hiring felons as firefighters. In fact, some excellent wildfire crews are made up entirely of incarcerated felons.

Someone asked me- "Can I be a hotshot, Joy?" - My reply was if you mean a "Wildland Hotshot" and not just a term of ego than you have to have Superior training and physical strength and endurance and accept there is multi jurisdictions and many agencies and the typical applicant has done a couple Fire Seasons of prior experience on Wildfire Suppression Crews, and if not additional qualifications like EMT, Sawyer, Aviation, etc.

In the past, when I have pulled my FOIAs and PRRs and it is "who you know" as well so to me that is a watchout when going in this because you may be under one of those pencil-whipped ones at some point and you can reach us on the tools to work under those environments.

Figure 35d. Ryan P. Helms - Source: Joy A. Collura

Ryan took his pack test May 16th, 2020 late afternoon and ready for Fire Season 2020. Captain Chad StLuka of Christopher Kohl's Fire Department suggested to Ryan after the pack test - do the Season for some Wildland Fire experience under his belt before doing S-131 so he knows what is being taught. The Captain's Crew will definitely be drilling the 10 and 18 into Ryan and explain why each one is important. Jeremy is advancing in his education to meet his Fire Wise Mitigation Specialist goals while Ryan is ready to head out for this Season 2020.

Figure 35e. Our Congrats Card to you both- To a Safe Fire Season 2020 for all. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 36. Joy A Collura at EAC- Payson College Campus Source: Joy A. Collura

I have spoken on IM about my stance on COVID 19. In addition, you get to save money on makeup ;)

Figure 37. Mr. Stray Cat meets Mr. Coatimundi who likes to come and say hello on the porch Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 37a. Hello says Mr. Coatimundi Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 38. Congratulations Cards Message Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 39. Due to Former Payson FD Fire Chief Marty deMasi leaving the EAC Wildland Fire Program, we were able to do it for 2020 at the Payson College. Source: Joy A. Collura

Nothing great comes easy and that is what I tell each student that comes my way- and it does not happen over night. (it certainly takes longer than one night)

Figure 40. Alkalizing phase time. Source: Joy A. Collura

A year of putting those pounds on and off like crazy.

Figure 41.The framed saying on my desk at the "writing headquarters" in Northern Arizona with Stray Cat in full LCES mode. Source: Joy A. Collura

Figure 42. Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms Source: Joy A. Collura

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

All we do on this website, to the best of our abilities, is for God and the plans He has for us- like it is said in the Scriptures-

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

We need to take care of one another.

I know some out there just wish I would go back to my "housewife hiker" role - yet the importance of all this - we all matter and we all have to remember what you were taught in your Wildland Fire Courses -it begins with Duty * Honor * Respect * Integrity.

There is no room for closet hiding or sweeping under the rugs. You are the most important person to me. When I go, I want the prior, current and future generation of Wildland Firefighters to know we need to laugh and hold another and stand up for another in truth and teach each other the right way and give one another hope.

Wherever I am, there I will be. God placed the right people to my life. You may disagree or challenge such. I have. Certain others have. Yet really to do His Will and His Way ... we both know are own limitations and that is why we are strong "together" each and everyone who keeps trying to gain the truths to lay public on the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Roger Ridley Santa Monica CA - Stand By Me Part One of Seven.


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