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  • Writer's pictureJOY A COLLURA

Part 5 of 9 - Underneath every simple, obvious story about ‘human error,’ there is a deeper, moe -B

Part 5 of 9 - Underneath every simple, obvious story about ‘human error,’ there is a deeper, more complex story - a story about the system in which people work. Will these formerly unrevealed public records change the account of what occurred on June 30, 2013?

Having nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11 (NIV)

In loving memory to my father (12 - 21 -15 )

Views expressed to "the public at largeand "of public concern"

DISCLAIMER: Please fully read the front page of the website (link below) before reading any of the posts ( )

The authors and the blog are not responsible for misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others. The content even though we are presenting it public if being reused must get written permission in doing so due to copyrighted material. Our sincerest apologies for the delays. These posts were due out in August 2019 yet we had website research a matter, and we are now finally able to rebuild the pages and make them "live." This extensive post may offend some due to the time of the year, however, we must stay the course to release information because more is yet to come out in future posts. To avoid such offense to some, please avoid further reading the posts until you find a proper reflective time for yourself. I did ask many people who were affected by this tragic Yarnell Hill Fire event and they said it was okay to post it this weekend. I know some people would not want any of this out at any time, yet I also know too many for "mental health" reasons need this out ASAP. Again - please avoid reading any further if you are unable to handle "sensitive material." Thank you.

Spring SW Region HS Supt. Workshop - Early on, in 2009, once the GMHS had IHC status, GMHS Marsh stated tp the Steering Committee Chairman: "we have to prove themselves." The overall response was that they had already 'proven themselves as a SW Region IHC and they merely had to go forth and be a Hot Shot Crew.'

Station Fire (2009) - Angeles NF(CA) - At least two other HS Supts. (R3 and R5) on separate occasions stated that the GMHS was known to 'go out of line’ with other Crews who agreed not to do assignments. GMHS would accept unsafe assignments that other Crews had refused for safety reason(s) and go against what the others had stated in order to remain united on refusing the assignment(s). This was their first GMHS IHC status year. Horseshoe One Fire (2010) - Coronado NF (AZ) - A SW Region HS Supt. acting as a DIVS recounted this anecdote. The DIVS had been supervising five (5) SW Region HS Crews, including the GMHS, working under him on mop-up assignments in very hot temperatures. He called the GMHS on the TAC channel asking for his location and status. Marsh stated that he had attempted several times to contact the DIVS unsuccessfully on TAC several times; that he was at or near the helispot and they had "just finished up the second bag of fluids" for one of his Crewmembers. The DIVS asked the other four (4) HS Supts. standing nearby, if any of them ever heard the GMHS calling the DIVS on the TAC channel. All four (4) nearby HS Supts. stated "negative." The DIVS attempted numerous times to meet with Marsh during that shift to discuss the potentially serious heat-related medical matter. However, Marsh and the GMHS demobed before bringing this to potentially serious incident to closure. This was an incident with NO required Fire Order #7 and it revealed GMHS actions that were disingenuous, lies, and evasive.. Horseshoe 2 Fire (2011) - Coronado NF (AZ) - Numerous SW Region HS Crews were to be involved in a somewhat hazardous Firing Ops - Marsh was the DIVS with the GMHS and attempted to hand off the firing operation to several other HS Crews telling them he was handing them a “Shit sandwich.” The other HS Crews turned down the assignment and the Division and the firing operation "blew out." The OPS stated that they had spenf s lot of effort to accomplish this task. NOTE: ALL the Hot Hot Crews and other Resources on the fire received a Letter of Appreciation. This is a standard IMT tact to dole out such "boiler-plate" Letters of Appreciation to all Resources. Sunflower Fire (2011) - Tonto NF (AZ) – Marsh Ignored advice from another HS Crew Supt. to move their Crew Carriers parked along a road above unburned bowl; The Crew Carriers "took some heat" according to the alleged GMHS "lookout" McDonough in a SAIT or ADOSH interview. This was also visibly revealed in their 2013 Crew video that has been removed from YouTube. Little Bear Fire (2012) - Lincoln NF (NM) - During a firing operation, the Type 2 Safety Officer (SOF2) asked Marsh to roll his sleeves down and to have his Crew do the same. Marsh performed "partial compliance with a resentful attitude" on the sleeves after being reminded several times to do this required safety protocol. Halstead Fire (2012) - Salmon-Challis NF (ID) - Marsh and the GMHS continued to perform direct attack in mixed conifer in spite of peer and overhead admonishments to back off and go indirect attack. Their ATV burned up when they had to abandon the fireline due to increased, aggressive fire behavior. Alleged GMHS "lookout" McDonough would later state in a SAIT or ADOSH interview that the ATV was old and had trouble starting and that's why it burned up.

Holloway Fire (2012) According to a Type 2 Safety Officer that worked on the Bear Trap Fire (July 2014) on the Humboldt-Toiyabe NF near Ely, NV, he had several conversations with numerous misc. USFS, BLM, Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), and dozer contractor WFs that either directly supervised and / or worked with Marsh and the GMHS on the Holloway Fire. They stated they were all working in heavy grass and sagebrush fuels in steep V-shaped canyons that funneled strong winds, and were therefore told to go indirect. One day, the GMHS committed themselves to going direct and these misc. USFS, BLM, NDF, and dozer contractor WFs left them in order to work elsewhere on the fire. They then reconsidered since the GMHS had basically "committed themselves" and wanted to be there to assist them just in case they got themselves in a bind. The canyon the GMHS was working in in 'blew up' and the GMHS disengaged. These misc. WFs chastized the GMHS for their actions in spite of being told earlier by them to go indirect. Expectedly, the standard GMHS response they gave to the misc. WFs was their typical 'we’re Granite Mountain … we think we can pull it off.'

YH Fire (2013) - ASF AZ - The BRHS had to "save" the GMHS Crew Carriers; the GMHS caviler and slack attitude regarding safety: Alleged third season "Lookout" McDonough setting his own trigger points even though GMHS had best view of the fire except for AA; Alleged third season "Lookout" declaring that Fire Order #10 was "hillbilly" and "old" and they were smarter than that; DIV A never really relinquished control to Steed; Marsh / DIVS A cavalier attitude with personal names instead of professionally by position, Crew names, etc.; according to a PFD FF that filled in on the GMHS, their habit of mainly using Crew Net, allowing only a few to talk on Command, Tactical, and Air-to-Ground, while keeping intentions. locations, and movements, withheld from their Overhead. Many Other Fires - According to many IHC Supts. and / or Overhead anecdotes over the years, the 'GMHS stories' abound about having to prove themselves or the GMHS Supt. always trying to ‘one-up you’ and / or use their common phrase: 'we’re Granite Mountain … we think we can pull it off.'

Figure 60. VIMEO video (Holloway Fire - we saved the GMHS buggies) from Contract Engine Crew Source: Colby Drake

Consider now several 2012 Holloway Fire episode anecdotes regarding the GMHS, recounted by a Contract Engine Crew Engine Boss that was there. He posted on InvestigativeMEDIA (IM) using the avatar "Methods."

On the 2012 Holloway Fire in NV, their Crew Carriers, parked in the unburned, minus drivers, saved by an Oregon Contract Engine Crew in VIMEO video. ( ). From 2:41 to 3:05, the nozzleman pans left; notice a handline on the hillside. Freeze-frame until you notice a GMHS black helmeted WF (lookout?) running downhill. Engine Boss Drake ("Methods") noted that: Multiple members were running down the slope to get to their buggies; fire crossed drainages; Crewmembers that made it down to the buggies ended up firing off around them. Literally in the green in a “V” drainage. Definitely account for two “bad decisions, with good outcomes” just on the 2012 Holloway Fire. This was the second of three times another Crew had to “save” their Crew carriers.

Methods says July 2, 2019 at 11:53 am

"I am the person who recorded the 2012 Holloway Fire in Nevada when GMIH buggies were saved. They were located/working up the hill building handline and putting out spots with a helicopter. Marsh was acting DIV and managing other resources. After saving their buggies (what is caught on film), we were asked to bed down for the night (spike out) on the line and GM, as hotshots tend to do, went off and bedded down by themselves. They didn’t bed down in the green watered pasture with the other resources but instead in dry grass and had to wake up to fire out around themselves during the night." (emphasis added)

Methods says July 2, 2019 at 11:55 am - "That’s two incidents within a 24 hour period that I personally saw on the Holloway Fire in 2012."

Methods says July 3, 2019 at 12:03 pm - "Yes, Marsh worked on the same division as GM. I was an ENGB assigned to the same DIV and was working with them during the first 3-4 days before an IMT showed up. We slept on the other side of the creek from them and heard them wake up that night. "Marsh worked on the same division as GM. I was an ENGB assigned to the same DIV and" (emphasis added) ( )

Methods says July 3, 2019 at 12:00 pm - "IMO, it sounds similar to the event that I caught on the video. Multiple members were running down the slope to get to their buggies; fire crossed drainages; I believe the crew members that made it down to the buggies ended up firing off around them. They may have assumed that they parked in a safety zone but it was literally in the green in a “V” drainage. Just my guess, but I can definitely account for two “bad decisions, with good outcomes” just on the 2012 Holloway Fire in Nevada." (emphasis added) ( )

Consider now the Public Record PFD GMHS Squad Boss interview that reveals GMHS blunders on the 2012 Holloway Fire, referred to as the "Nevada Fire" by the GMHS. "PFD Recruitment Committee (2015) for GMHS Squad Boss position" All four candidates asked for a good leadership example. The 2012 “Nevada Fire” (Holloway Fire) was mentioned where they posted no lookout, the fire ‘snuck up on them,’ they fired out around themselves and their vehicles, and ‘everything turned out alright.’

At the 2016 AZ Wildfire Academy, an experienced WF was asked to address the Advanced FF / Squad Boss (S-131) course regarding "leadership and human factors." While discussing the 2012 Holloway Fire (NV & OR 2012) and the issue of the GMHS needing to fire out around themselves and their Crew Carriers because they failed to post a lookout. One of the students interrupted, identifying himself as "a former GMHS from 2011 to 2013 and I was on that fire and that's not what happened." They all took a break and the former GMHS recounted the following: They were initially line spiked and told by the IMT to be “fire-ready” even when sleeping. According to the former GMHS, the Acting Supt. posted no lookout and woke up to a distant glow, ignored it and went back to sleep. They awoke hours later with the fire upon them. They quickly fired around themselves and everything turned out alright. ( )

Figure 60a. Halstead Fire (ID - SCF - 2002) - GMHS photos of burned up ATV. Source: GMHS, John Dougherty

According to a Type 2 Safety Officer on the Halstead Fire, in spite of peer and overhead admonishments to back off and go indirect attack due to erratic fire behavior, GMHS Marsh and the GMHS continued to perform direct attack in a mixed conifer fuel type. Their ATV burned up when they had to abandon the fireline due to increased, aggressive fire behavior. Alleged GMHS "lookout" McDonough would later state in a SAIT or ADOSH interview that the ATV was old and had trouble starting and that's why it burned up. This brings into question why someone would bring an ATV in such condition to a wildfire assignment, much less onto an active fireline day after day.

Figure 61. PDF JPEG image of USFS Email thread (April 12, 2016) between BRHS Supt. Brian Frisby and USFS Human Dimensions Specialist Joseph Harris regarding "Human Factors!" Source: Joy A. Collura

This is a keen example of how much BRHS Supt. Brian Frisby and the BRHS know about the YH Fire and debacle GMHS tragedy and want to share what they know for many reasons. This is an April 12, 2016, email between USFS BRHS Frisby and USFS Human Dimensions Specialist Joseph Harris regarding "Human Factors!" with an exclamation point no less! And why not ... "human factors ... were ... off the charts ... that day" according to Frisby. Furthermore and even worse, "there was so much that went on that day that is being swept under the rug." Frisby realized the value of the June 30, 2013, events fearing that they may be lost or discounted, he hopes for the best with this statement: "I would love the opportunity to talk about it. believe there is a lot to be learned from this event and if we are to adopt this as an agency we need to get it right."

You may recall from two earlier website posts (1. AFUE Records on October 15, 2018) and (USFS vs. BLM employee SAIT and ADOSH interview disparity - June 19, 2019) that the USFS Human Dimensions Specialist Joseph Harris (2. Frisby and Harris “Human Factors!” April 12, 2016 email above) wrote a research paper on Staff Rides and the USFS for his Master's Degree thesis from Lund University (Sweden) titled: "DO STAFF RIDES HELP MOVE THE FOREST SERVICE TOWARD ITS GOAL OF BECOMING A LEARNING ORGANIZATION?" (June 2, 2015)

In his dissertation's conclusion (p. 29), Harris writes: "Staff rides are highly valued learning products, and could contribute to the Forest Service’s mission to become a learning organization. Staff rides can easily be structured to conform to most of the suggested elements of a learning product. ... Research shows that accounting and allowing for a wide variety of learning styles within a presentation is [most] effective … There is also a perceived gap between the traditional written report and the staff ride. The Forest Service can make progress toward its goal of becoming a learning organization by closing this gap through designing learning products that aim to replicate the emotional and intellectual impact of the staff ride to a much wider audience. ... There was a consensus that while we do a good job of identifying lessons to learn, we don’t do as good a job of actually following through with organizational change. ..." (emphasis added)

USFS Human Dimensions Specialist Joseph Harris utilizes the classic application of understatement here ( ) with this assertion about "a perceived gap between the traditional written report and the staff ride." Only a perceived gap? It's seems more like a gaping chasm. And whether or not "the Forest Service can make progress toward its goal of becoming a learning organization by closing this gap through designing learning products that aim to replicate the emotional and intellectual impact of the staff ride to a much wider audience ..." (emphasis added) is a well-established conclusion from current and former USFS employees - that they cannot and will not ever accomplish this important goal.

In my view, the USFS can, if they really want to, however, they will never achieve this goal because according to USFS WFs still within the Agency, they will not allow their employees to publicly talk about the YH Fire and the GMHS in work-related forums, (e.g. wildland training academies, training sessions, and refresher courses) unless and until they get "prior Regional and Washington Office approval." With some select Wildfire Academy students, it is also a taboo subject at the AZ Wildland Fire Academy in March in Arizona to talk about the YH Fire debacle and the GMHS tragedy. I have been told that it is approved to talk about the actual SAIT-SAIR and its conclusions and discussion points but nobody's opinions or even "professional" opinions are allowed if it differs or strays in any way from the official "factual" SAIT-SAIR. My own YH Fire eye-witness account was not accurately done and books have been made basing it on the SAIT-SAIR rather than the facts. (emphasis added)


Wildfire fatalities continue to occur from the same causal factors because of “incomplete lessons learned.”

One way to address this is through credible Staff Rides, a valuable asset in the “lessons learned” tool box to reduce them, however, when they are based on deceptive “investigations” and bogus conclusions, you really have to ask yourselves - how valuable are those “lessons learned?” In 2016, BRHS Supt. Frisby was told in a YH Fire Staff Ride Development session, either in an AAR or a critique or evaluation by participants or SMEs that he was "a distraction." Yes indeed, "a distraction!" How is it that a wildland fire fatality participant could be considered "a distraction" on a Staff Ride?

An overlooked, if even known about, NWCG Fireline Leadership statement includes that Staff Rides

… should avoid being a recital of a single investigation report. Such reports rarely address the human factors that affect individual decision-making. … providing participants with a variety of information sources is important.” (emphasis added) Clearly, the YH Fire requires as many different “information sources” as possible to even come close to being factual. And you would certainly hope that the problematic, truth-sharing YH Fire and BRHS debacle "distraction" - BRHS Supt. Frisby - would be considered within the important "variety of information sources" category, especially to focus on the infrequently addressed "human factors that affect individual decision-making."

Disturbingly, yet not surprisingly, these statements regarding other “information sources” and a “variety of information” will be slightly changed in the newest version of this website. NWCG: Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program. The Staff Ride (2019).

Consider now the newest Staff Ride rendition regarding “information sources” mentioned above. “While an investigation report is a primary source of information, it should not be the only source of information that is used. Facilitators are encouraged to rent and watch the movie Courage Under Fire. Although this movie is a fictional drama, it provides a good perspective on the barriers that can be encountered during an incident investigation.” (emphasis added)

So then, after convincing myself to actually watch and engage in the "fictional drama" Courage Under Fire, I have changed my mind about the value of the movie based on its honorable message, and how it parallels with what we are doing here. I realized that it squarely relates to the June 30, 2013, YH Fire debacle and the GMHS tragedy because it deals with telling the truth about a friendly fire episode.

How about taking the high road and just telling the truth from the start and all the way through? There should be no need for a "perceived gap" and then a feigned, pretentious need to remedy it by closing a gap that "they" [SAIT] created! It makes so much more sense for the SAIT to have told the truth from the get-go. And allowed BRHS Supt. Frisby and the BRHS to be interviewed and find out from them instead - their first-hand accounts. It's pretty evident that the entire BRHS Crew have a lot to share based on what former BRHS Supt. Frisby states above in his April 12, 2016, email and what the rest of the BRHS document in their unit logs and other notes posted elsewhere on this website.


And here we have more evidence from the DP and Harwood Podcast, that BRHS Frisby is willing to share his June 30, 2013, YH Fire experiences. Some minor editing was necessary for space, flow, and comprehension purposes from WTKTT's transcription of their Podcast segment.


"Apparently, Blue Ridge Hotshot Superintendent Brian Frisby is sick and tired of beiing [sic] told he can’t discuss what he knows ( and has ALWAYS known ) about the Yarnell Hill Fire. (emphasis added)

"According to [DP] and former GM Hotshot Doug Harwood, Frisby spoke to an entire California Hotshot crew just last summer about what REALLY happened in Yarnell, and whatever he told them was enough for them to realize the SAIT investigation was a total FARCE. (emphasis added)

"In their ‘introduction' to their PODCAST Episode 8, published just 5 weeks ago on April 24, 2019, Harwood ‘reads' an email they received from one of the firefighters on this Hotshot crew that Frisby spoke to. (emphasis added)

"Our Investigation, Our Truth What Happened to the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots PODCAST Episode 08: Your Changes, Our Changes Published: April 24, 2019 (–Our-Changes-e3qqcb ) Episode 8, Part 1

+0:48 ——————————————————————————————————– Doug Harwood: We have a comment from a firefighter on a Hotshot crew in California. He says…

“My crew was lucky enough to work with Blue Ridge last summer. On one of the slow days the Blue Ridge supe ( Brian Frisby ) took time to speak to our whole crew about the events of that day. Between THAT conversation, and listening to your podcasts, I’m appalled by the FAILURE of our original investigation. Not only was it an injustice to the perished firefighters, it’s a disservice to our current firefighters as well. How are we supposed to learn ANY lessons from the tragedy if we don’t know exactly what happened?” (emphasis added)

Doug Harwood: We want to thank that firefighter for his message.

[DP]: Yes. Thank you so much."

These are all very interesting comments from this WF from a California Hot Shot that listened to BRHS Frisby vent about the June 30, 2013, YH Fire events in combination with listening to the [DP] / Harwood Podcasts. It should be common knowledge by now that experienced WFs are often "appalled by the FAILURE of our original investigation." which was most definitely "an injustice to the [GMHS]," and "a disservice to our current firefighters as well." This upset CA Hot Shot asks a question, asked by so many experienced WFs, and it deserves an honest answer - 'how are we supposed to learn ANY lessons from the tragedy if we don’t know exactly what happened?'" These bothersome, burning, frustrating, and gnawing questions demand answers from the SAIT and associated SMEs, as well as from respective upper level supervisors and Agency and Department leaders. How is it that the WFs and FFs can so clearly see it but the leaders cannot .. or is it they conveniently refuse to see it?


Consider now some comments from the "Student of Fire" website, one of them a sister of BRHS Supt. Brian Frisby.

Figure 61a. Comment on the Student of Fire website for the "On The Road: Yarnell" - January 18, 2017 post with comment from Corianna Lee, claiming to be BRHS Frisby's sister ("my bro is the sup for Blue Ridge") Source: Student of Fire

The Student of Fire website post titled: "On The Road: Yarnell" - January 18, 2017 by studentoffire - 19 Comments ( ) has an interesting and enlightening comment from BRHS Frisby's sister Corianna Lee, in the Snippet (above). She states that these GMHS "guys were his brothers in every sense of the word. He has done his best to move on, but [her brother, Frisby] was never the same after the event."

Figure 62. PDF JPEG image NWCG Leadership Group of quotes regarding Staff Rides Based on Disingenuously "Factual" Wildland Fire Fatality Investigations Are Even Worse Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura

Consider now some of the work of authors and military history researchers Eliot Cohen and John Gooch in their book Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War, in "The Taxonomy of Misfortune" (1990) section of their book to as an analog to examine wildland fire lessons learned. They analyze the "pathways to misfortune" and examine the "three basic kinds of failure: failure to learn, failure to anticipate, and failure to adapt. ... The failure to absorb readily assessable lessons from recent history is in many ways the most puzzling of all military misfortunes. ... The inability to foresee and take appropriate measures ... inability to handle the changing present. ... [failure to] take reasonable precautions ... inability to cope with unfolding events ... When two kinds of misfortune occur together we are in the presence of an aggregate failure ... Aggregate failures most commonly combine learning failure and anticipatory failure ... When all three kinds of failure occur together, catastrophe results." (emphasis added) pp. 24-32.

It's a permissible inference that the GMHS hiked right down into all three of these identified failures on June 30, 2013; First, a likely intelligence 'failure to learn' from historical wildland fire fatalities; second, a 'failure to anticipate' with a hubris of extreme and unwarranted self confidence in their own inability to rethink their strategy, and lastly their 'failure to adapt' and stay put while changing their course of action in light of the rapidly deteriorating fire weather and exponentially increasing fire behavior conditions discussed in some detail both in Parts 1 & 2 of 5 and elsewhere on this blog. (p. 124) Therefore, the GMHS's aggregate failures escalated into all three kinds of failure occurring together resulting in catastrophe. (emphasis added)

In the end, the surprise and operational failures are best understood, not as accidents created by indecisive leadership or as the result of unavoidable pathologies of a lack of gathering and processing intelligence. Rather, they were at the deepest level, the products of failure to think through the many dimensions of a changing strategic challenge. By focusing only on them and by failing to gauge the cumulative impacts of the weather and fire behavior changes, the GMHS set themselves up for a calamity by leaving their Safety Zone at the worst possible time. The operational and the intelligence brains of the GMHS had failed, and had done so together. (p. 130)

Dr. Putnam hits the Staff Ride Lessons Learned nail on the head with his statement that official fatality wildland fire investigation reports have lies written into them, and then the Staff Rides, based on those lies within the reports, become dramatic productions. And even if the truth later does seep out, the damage is already done, because the Staff Rides just keep passing on the same old lies. So then, where are then, where are the "complete" lessons learned?

Regarding Staff Rides, this issue, addressed in Part 1 of 5, will be briefly discussed here: "3. The [SAI] Team recommends that the State of Arizona work cooperatively with its fire cooperators to develop a wildland fire staff ride for the Yarnell Hill Fire incident. The staff ride is a process of conveying the lessons learned from this incident for future fire leaders."The SAIT and the AZ State Forestry actually did follow through on this documented, yet pretentious, SAIT-SAIR recommendation, although fecklessly and disingenuously, because a Staff Ride was also mandated in the GMHS Family lawsuit(s) as a binding settlement agreement. (emphasis added) (SAIT-SAIR p. 44)

Figure 63. PDF JPEG image of "Does anyone ever wonder what just one of the multiple satellites saw on the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura

The issue of satellites and satellite imagery for the YH Fire has been raised numerous times but never delved into in any depth. So then, does anyone really wonder what just one of the multiple satellite saw on the YH Fire June 30, 2013? Those at the July 2019 AHFE Conference had the benefit of viewing this original image with the link, however, the rest of you will just have to wait until we have our meetings on this subject.

Figure 64. PDF JPEG image of our "Summary - Conclusions - Acknowledgements" and our website Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura

We admit to scarce evidence of the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor firing operation due, in apart, to fear of disclosure. Therefore, we had to rely on the photos and video clips of separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes), and second- and third-party anecdotes to corroborate a firing operation occurred.

We surmised that there were at least three "spies" among the approximately 25 participants with six comments and questions, compared to most other presentations with none to two comments or questions. The alleged "spies" were two well-dressed (business suits) females, one a serious typewriting / stenographer-type note-taker and several others taking cell phone photos of each of the PowerPoint images. The note-takers left immediately after our presentation.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

AHFE: International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics

Advances in Human Error, Reliability, Resilience, and Performance

Proceedings of the AHFE 2019 International Conference on Human Error, Reliability, Resilience, and Performance, July 24-28, 2019, Washington D.C., USA

"Resist him [the Liar and Deceiver], standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." 1 Peter 5:9 (NIV)


The following is from the former "" - the self-proclaimed "home of the wildland firefighter." Among many resources on their site is the bulletin board, They Said It, which was first moderated by the original "Abercrombie" and now by Abby. They Said provides its readers with LCES: a Lookout for what we probably couldn't otherwise see happening in the rest of the wildfire world; Communications to bring together a diverse group of agency, contractor and cooperator folks (and even some of those structure types); Escape routes for when the off-season or office day lasts too long or is just too far from the smoke; and ultimately, a Safety zone in the information, innovation and motivation to help bring us all back home." (emphasis added)

" - Home of the Wildland Firefighter - They Said" post by Abercrombie

It is well worth reading the following "They Said" thread because it delves into author John MacLean's book on the 1994 South Canyon Fire and his ostensible "qualifications" and "interpretations." Here is an example: "However, it's my opinion John N. Maclean doesn't know and failed to learn enough about the fire suppression organization and firefighters as an entity. I think Mr. Maclean's having a father writing about a similar tragedy forty years prior fail to qualify him to write about this story. "Thirty years writing, reporting, and editing for the Chicago Tribune", seem to me an unlikely background to begin deducing and assigning blame in this tragedy. Burned up firefighters must have appeared a very attractive subject matter, especially when there were indications of government ineptitude involved." (bolded emphasis added)

You will also notice that Abercrombie lists the "Fire Orders" in a "new" way that the "Good Idea People," after the South Canyon Fire, thought would supposedly encourage better memorization. However, it was definitely counter intuitive and contrary to the way they were designed to be - an analytical step-by-step method of fighting wildland fires. The lion's share of the Hot Shot community persistently and successfully lobbied upper-level fire managers pressing hard to have these returned to the "original" Fire Orders.

On this Abercrombie copied post I had to replace the odd-shaped symbols with apostrophes for better aesthetics, reading, and comprehension.

"Assuming there may be a few readers left with me here, I'll now address the issues noted in the second paragraph of this article. The failure of a firefighter, all firefighters, any firefighters, regardless of rank, to follow established rules or guidelines have little to do with weather forecasters, district managers, or dispatch centers. Yet, Mr. Maclean in his ignorance and some of the readers of his book seem to prefer blaming some of these individuals, or others who were far from the fireline. An excess amount of uninformed, misplaced, insinuations filled far too many pages of the book as the author critiqued decisions and placed blame on those making decisions about when the fire first ignited, how long it was left to burn, whose jurisdiction or responsibility it was, and how long it took until resources began to attack the fire. I consider this extraneous information as fluff, dander, and fill to make the book fit the parameter of a novel at around 275 pages. Most of dialogue, interviews, and conclusions fail to address the primary responsibility of each firefighter to comply with the fundamental rules already existing to govern their actions and behavior.

"It didn't matter if the South Canyon fire was burning for a week or a month, it didn't matter if the fire was 5 or 500 acres prior to initial attack, or if there were 10 or 100 airtankers five miles away ideally spinning their props. Understand? It doesn't matter and has absolutely no bearing on why the firefighters died. Do you get it? The primary responsibility for a crew's safety lies with their crew supervisor. Period. It doesn't matter who the IC is, who the Division Supervisor is, nor the Branch Director, nor any other person in an observing status. It's the crew supervisor!

"I believe adequate training was provided these people to prevent this scenario from happening. They just didn't follow the rules. I would like to have the capability of making sure each firefighter reading this understands that a similar situation may happen to them on any given fire. My hopes are that each of you are aware that you have the right to "question authority". Ensure you understand and are aware of the 10 Standard Orders and the 18 Watchout Situations! Make sure you understand them and apply them to every fire you fight. You have the right to refuse any assignment you are uncomfortable with. You have the right to say NO!

"Seldom politically correct, always fire correct. . . Abercrombie

Former " - They Said" archives (1999-2004) with a ton of good stuff! This one was already run through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine ( ), so it should work. If not, refer to the Wayback Machine directions below. ( )

From Abercrombie (August 4, 2000) "... be safe this [and every] most promising and dangerous season so we may all enjoy its end and return home to our loved ones. Take time to remember those firefighters who came before you and those families who have lost their firefighting members. ..." (emphasis added)

First go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine ( ) then copy / paste this link for the "They Said" Abercrombie article ( ) that recounts their history, purpose, theme, and goals.

"From the bottom of my heart I feel a deep sadness at the loss of these firefighters. My purpose here is not to cast blame on individuals, nor John MacLean, but to try to identify the specific causes of a tragedy from a pragmatic rather than emotional point of view." (all emphasis added above)

To access the above " and They Said" article by Abercrombie initially requires an interesting journey through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine here: ( ). Start by copying & pasting this next link to place in the blank, horizontal Wayback Machine URL block

The Wayback Machine will search for it, then it will show two links, one in the URL block and a separate bolded one underneath. Click on the bolded one and it will then go through its gyrations and, if they can locate it, to a horizontal timeline indicating vertical yellow boxes and with one or more blue dots on certain days in a particular month. Choose one or all of these blue dots to hover over and it reveals these details: "month, the number of "snapshot(s)" and a timeframe number that will appear above like this: ( Sun, 25 Mar 2018 18:29:12 GMT ) with the coded and colored number like this: "18.29.12" - so then click on the numbered blue link in that colored number sequence to access it. It will also list the number of hits or crawls or captures like this: "22 captures -11 Dec 2003 - 25 Mar 2018" or "Saved 22 times between ..." whatever dates it lists.

"It struck me that you never really know how lucky you are until your luck runs out." Nick Heil (Aug 28, 2019) 'The Tragedy on Howse Peak' about a multi-fatality climbing incident from an avalanche. Just curious. For someone who refuses to believe in luck, I need to ask how does that luck thing work anyway; do you get so many "lucks" when you're born and you just use them up all your life or what? Can you borrow or buy them or trade them with others? ( )


Please avoid bashing us and getting impatient. SIMPLY WAIT - TOO MANY do not realize the sensitivity of the information and it just cannot simply be spurted out, so when we get data we promise anonymity and then we have to respect and honor our commitments.

As a wildland fire community, this is the moment when we must converge for the betterment of our combined health and welfare. And for supervisors to remember that their main responsibility is ensuring the safety and welfare of those they supervise to the best of their abilities. No matter what! WFs, FFs, and citizens are dying from the same causal factors. It is not just the 19, it is many of us in the fire COMMUNITY. There is far too much concealing, lying, and pretending day-by-day. We need a positive, sincere change. Emphasize the basics, the "10 and 18" and LCES, focusing on Entrapment Avoidance in order to do our part to reduce the unfortunately inevitable wildland firefighting deaths.

What follows are a series of images of the 2019 AHFE Advances in Human Error, Reliability, Resilience, and Performance book that contains most of the pages of the research paper titled: "Formerly Unrevealed Public Records Should Change the Account of What Occurred on June 30, 2013" by Schoeffler, Honda, and Collura. Our presentation was include within the "Theorizing and Theoretical Issues in High Reliability Organizations" section with three other presenters.

Figure 65. Copy of an original USFS poster seeking "Men" that could work hard, ride, pack, shoot, fight fires with a cool head, and all requiring a "vigorous constitution." Source: USFS and GTS

In an obituary published in a national magazine, William F. Rickenbacker, one of Captain Eddie’s two sons, wrote: ‘Among his robust certainties were his faith in God, his unswerving patriotism, his acceptance of life’s hazards and pains, and his trust in persistent hard work. No scorn could match the scorn he had for men who settled for half-measures, uttered half-truths, straddled the issues, or admitted the idea of failure or defeat. If he had a motto, it must have been the phrase I’ve heard a thousand times: ‘I’ll fight like a wildcat!”

This post is dedicated to men and women of courage - thank you to people like WWI ace Eddie Rickenbacker-

he said it right: "Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared."

Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the oppressed from the power of evil people. Jeremiah 20:13 (CEV)


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