top of page
  • Writer's picture

What Happened On The 1990 Dude Fire? Perryville Dept. of Corrections Officer Deserted His Crew, Why Zane Grey Cabin Burned, Records Shredded, How We Saved The Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery 6/26-27/90. PT1

Restating the title due to the Wix space limits: What Really Happened On The June 1990 Dude Fire? The Perryville Dept. of Corrections Officer Deserted His Crew Taking The Only Radio; The Two Fire Bosses Shredded Key Fire Package Documents (Records); Why Was The Historic Zane Grey Cabin Allowed to Burn; and The Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery Was Saved Between June 26-27, 1990. PT. 1

Fred J. Schoeffler and contributing authors

 Views expressed to "the public at large” and "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.

Thank you.


Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man and his deeds. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Colossians 3: 9-10 (KJV)

“No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on a-comin'.”

― Captain Bill McDonald Texas Ranger


What do you really know about the June 1990 Dude Fire other than several Perryville Prison inmates and a Dept. of Corrections guard died and numerous homes were burned? There were a lot of other notable things that took place there. Well it's never too late to learn. This post will cover several of the - until now - unknown, unrevealed, and hidden discussions, decisions, and actions that took place on the June 1990 Dude Fire and its unvarnished truths. And, of course, those revelations will fall into the usual cover-up, lie, and whitewash categories of all the other wildland fire tragedies. However, the Dude Fire and its alleged "lessons learned" are somewhat unique because it has several worthwhile fire weather and fire behavior indicator connections to the world renowned June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire - the biggest cover-up, lie, and whitewash in wildland fire history; some of which actually ended up saving several lives on that tragic wildfire. And yet, there were others (i.e. alleged GMHS "Lookout" and sole survivor Brendan McDonough) that failed to grasp those alleged "lessons" even though he would claim in the SAIT-SAIR and / or ADOSH interviews, including his False Cause Fallacy blaming lightning for the GMHS deaths.


“Who Controls the Past Controls the Future.

Who Controls the Present Controls the Past.”

George Orwell (1984 movie)


"History is not there for you to like or dislike. It is there for you to learn from. And if it offends you, even better, because you are less likely to repeat it. History is not yours to change or destroy."

Aldous Huxley


Consider delving into this in-depth research article about the numerous means of believing and deviously getting others to believe in falsehoods as they relate to the continuing lies about the June 26-27, 1990, Dude Fire.

Mandela Effect Examples, Origins, and Explanations

How masses of people can have the same false memory

Arlin Cunic MA (2024) Very Well Mind


Accepting that wildland firefighting is "inherently dangerous," our mission is to promote “complete lessons learned" in the wildland fire service, a quasi-military endeavor, by accepting and promoting their sole sacred responsibility of all supervisors as warriors, ensuring the safety and welfare of those they supervise - realized by knowing, understanding and following the tried-and-trued Rules of Engagement (ROE) and the Entrapment Avoidance principles focusing on sound leadership; considering human factors, human errors, and human failures; the Normalization of Deviance; the Swiss Cheese Model; and the sound & tested principles of military High Reliability Organizations (HROs).


Consider now a Zane Grey Society Google search link for ZGC photos of the inside of the cabin and its contents, decor, furniture, wall hanging, etc. before it burned. There are NONE in this series of photos of the original historical Zane Grey cabin before it burned on June 27, 1990, in the Dude Fire and the subsequent replica below in Payson at Green Valley Park. That is amazing that they would have NO photos whatsoever, especially for insurance purposes.

Figure 1. Original Zane Grey Cabin (left) near Tonto Creek and a replica of it (right) at the Green Valley Park; Payson, AZ Source:  Northern Gila County Historical Society (NGCHS)

Figure 2. The Original Zane Grey Cabin circa 1980; Payson, AZ Source: HipPostcard

Figure 2a. Zane Grey Cabin after 1990 Dude Fire. Source: NGCHS

Figure 2b. TNF PRD FMO closed caption Screenshot of FMO Bob Ortlund talking about the ZGC after the 1990 Dude Fire. Source: News Channel 3

These Figure 2a. and 2c. photos are instrumental, indicating that the ZGC had burned from the top-down from hot embers landing on it rather than from a lateral moving crown fire based on the remaining tree foliage and scorched needles. These warped into these positions from the super-heated air that often precedes the flaming front.

Unfortunately, the Dude Fire images of the extreme fire behavior rolling down Walk Moore Canyon on June 26, 1990, were allegedly destroyed or absconded by some less-than-honest USFS and BIA IMT overhead that evidently felt that they were in the above-the-law club, in order to control the Investigation Team's narrative on this fire as evidenced in the Dude Fire video in Figure 6. below and this author's Declaration in Figure 9. below. This author was tasked with developing a Staff Ride by the SWCC Regional Safety and Health and Staff Ride Coordinator Bequi Livingston. After being informed by this author that almost all of the needed "official" records were missing, Bequi planned a Staff Ride Development Workshop in Payson with the June 1990 Staff Ride being the end product. In fact, it would become the first USFS Staff Ride!

"A staff ride requires the support of as many sources of information can be obtained. Even the simplest campaign entails an enormous number of facts, and the more of these instructors and students entails and enormous number of facts, can gather and assimilate, the better they can interpret the campaign. If both primary and secondary accounts exist, both should be utilized.” The Staff Ride by Col. Robertson Army Center of Military History. ( Moreover, from another source: "A Staff Ride should avoid being a recital of a single investigation report. Such reports rarely address the human factors that affect individual decision-making. For this reason, providing participants with a variety of information sources is important." Additionally, the NWCG Leadership Development Program quote is likely much more important in this author's professional and personal opinion.

Figure 2c. Evidence of Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) fire behavior needle set. Note how the needles are dried ("set") in a lateral and downward top left to bottom right curl when the hot gases preceded the flaming front. Source: Cedar Fire Entrapment Report (2017), Wildland Fire LLC

The Third Zane Grey Cabin

In June of 1990 the Dude Fire burned the cabin to the ground along with 58 other homes, 28,000 acres of forest and, most tragically, took the lives of six firefighters.  Over the years some attempts were made to acquire the property but in 1998 a partnership purchased a large parcel of land, including the site of the cabin, and began to subdivide it.  The Zane Grey Cabin Foundation was organized, with Dick Wolfe as president, and this organization led a successful campaign to raise the funds necessary to build a replica cabin on property owned by the Northern Gila County Historical Society, Inc.  The replica is a faithful copy of the original made from local Ponderosa pine trees.  The replica was dedicated in 2005. Source: Northern AZ Gila County Historical Society

Figure 2d. Zane Grey's cabin in Arizona in an undated file photo. Source:

The Republic

Figure 3.  Zane Grey's Cabin plaque Green Valley Park; Payson, AZ. Erected 1964 by AZ Development Board and AZ Highway Dept. Source: NGCHS

Figure 4. Zane Grey Marker Photographed By Bill Coughlin, October 25, 2009 Source:  Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Figure 5. Zane Grey and one of his dogs. Source: Discover Gila County

( Click the above link for this author's ZGC cover-up comment.

Figure 5a. Zane Grey sitting at his desk. Source: Wet Fly Swing

Figure 5b. photo of Zane Grey, the baseball player Source: Wikipedia

A man of many talents, he played summer baseball for the Columbus Capitols, with aspirations of becoming a major leaguer. He went on to play minor league baseball with several teams, including the Newark, NJ Colts in 1898 and also with the Orange Athletic Club for several years.

"An Ohio born dentist, Zane Grey spent many years under the Mogollon Rim, writing 'To the Last Man' and a dozen other westerns with Arizona settings and characters. His prolific writings popularized the American cowboy as a taciturn, romantic figure."


Consider now the USFS-produced with the help of the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (WLF LLC) Dude Fire video titled "Putting Down the Dude Fire." This author confidently alleges that this is almost entirely a"we did nothing wrong" and "feel good" endeavor to deflect from the tragedy.

Figure 6. Putting Down the Dude Fire video Source: Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (WLF LLC), YouTube

Consider this author's three-year old comments in this Figure 6. YouTube video regarding "Independent Actions" that day: "@fredschoeffler8047 3 years ago: "This video only tells a part of the story of the 1990 Dude Fire near Payson, Arizona. On June 27, 1990, there were several of us accomplishing Independent Action in the area that attempted to save it by firing out above it as the fire swept by horizontally, however, our supervisor got cold feet and pulled us out. The Zane Grey Cabin segments (12:12 and 17:00 to 19:31) reveal that the cabin was not swept away with fire as the USFS wants you to believe. If it did all those merely scorched residual trees surrounding it would have been burned to black sticks. It burned from the top-down from hot embers on the roof, in the eaves and vents, etc. We could [hear] propane bottles blowing off and venting as we left. The IC was later interviewed for the local paper and falsely stated that they had done everything they could - 'watered and foamed it down, and it burned down at about 1:30 AM.' That's a bald faced lie! it burned down about 1:30 in the afternoon. He also falsely stated that they were able to retrieve a lot of Zane Grey's heirlooms and such. More lies because everything within the ZGC burned. We then proceeded to the Tonto Fish Hatchery and continued with our independent actions. Partially correct, the Narrator and the Hatchery Manager's assessment stated (31:30) 'fire weather gave the FFs an edge to save the Tonto Fish Hatchery.' It was really all about timing. The Hatchery manager stated: "it’s actually unbelievable that the Hatchery actually survived the fire" and the Narrator said "even though the fire passed within feet of their homes, all were still standing." In fact, it was because we ring-fired behind the three residences as we worked our way down, and only lost two outbuildings, one of which was shown here in this Channel 3 Dude Fire Story video Screenshot below in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Screenshot of the Tonto Creek Hatchery outbuilding remains from the Dude Fire Story video Source: WLF LLC, YouTube

The Hatchery Manager stated: "we are real proud of the Hot Shots for saving, for honoring … we congratulate their efforts." There was only one Hot Shot involved and five others doing what needed to be done. We received a nice plaque for our accomplishments. The Hatchery Manager intimated something to the effect of the fire weather gave FFs an edge to save the Tonto Fish hatchery … “it’s actually unbelievable that the Hatchery actually survived the fire … even though the fire passed within feet of their homes, all were still standing … we are real proud if the HS for saving, for honoring … we congratulate their efforts.' Six of us received a nice plaque from the AZ G&F that was covered in the Payson Roundup and is also posted on our YHFR website that covers the June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire debacle and GMHS Tragedy as well as how the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire relates to it.

Consider now several of ZGC Screenshots from the Ch. 3 News video with this author correcting the errant Close Caption verbiage where necessary

Figure 7a. Screenshot of the Zane Grey Cabin sign from the Figure 6. Putting Down the Dude Fire video Source: WLF LLC, YouTube

Figure 7b. Screenshot of the Zane Grey Cabin remains from the Figure 6. Putting Down the Dude Fire video Source: WLF LLC, YouTube

Figure 7c. Screenshot of the Zane Grey Cabin hunt trophies remains from the Dude Fire story video Source: WLF LLC, YouTube

Figure 7d. Screenshot of several of Zane Grey's books inside his Cabin from the Dude Fire Story video Source: WLF LLC), YouTube

Figure 7e. Screenshot of the Zane Grey Cabin and Grey's Morris Chair and his lapboard from the Dude Fire story video Source: WLF LLC, YouTube

Consider now one of the Dude Fire Staff Ride videos in Figure 8.

Figure 8. Why Did They Die Dude Fire video from "11 years ago" Source: WLF LLC, YouTube

There is no specific mention of the Zane Grey Cabin in the Staff Ride video.

Consider this author's Declaration made "under penalty of perjury" in Figure 9. below and comments in Figure 6. above: "@fredschoeffler1425.

The Why Did They Die Dude Fire video in Figure 8. is merely a USFS sponsored feel-good video with only "grains of truth" contained within them. It is this author's professional opinion, that the major causal factor for the Perryville Crew fatalities was due to their Dept of Corrections Crew Boss Larry Terra leaving the firelines taking the only radio, thus leaving his Crew without proper supervision during a critical period. In addition, we could have easily saved Zane Grey Cabin if we had been allowed to continue our firing operation with the TNF PRD Type 6 Engine Crew holding for us. Without them, the Zane Grey Cabin burned from the top down due to embers based on the number of unburned trees left behind as seen in Figure 2c. This author alleges the IMT lied about the wildland FFs foaming it down in one of the Payson Roundup (still searching for these source records) news articles or Backbone inserts for these statements! From there, the Independent Action group moved to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery successfully firing that out with minimal structure loss. The relevant ZGC video coverage discussed here is in the approx. 17:00 to 22:00 range.

This author was working on the June 1990 Dude Fire and knows what really happened the day when the Zane Grey Cabin (ZGC) burned to the ground - from hot embers - far from any raging fire as the Type I Fire Boss would falsely claim in a Payson Roundup interview (June 1990) would have you believe. Instead, they falsely claimed something to the effect of: "we did everything we / they could to save it, water, foam, etc. and it burned down about 1:00 AM in the morning". That statement is pure bulls**t!

There are numerous comments by the odious PRD DR Gunzel (RiP) and the Type 1 Fire Boss and many others about the Dude Fire in general but only the video Narrator makes any comments about the ZGC.


“Truth exists only in the mind of collective mind of The Party”

George Orwell (1984 movie)


Figure 8a. Dealing with toxic people and misinformation Source: FaceBook


Consider What Is Hearsay and What Exceptions Exist Under Arizona



Given that some of the comments made in this author's Declaration are second-hand in nature, the applicable State Law considers them "hearsay," i.e. rumor. Source: AZ Rules of Evidence. Please note that, while this article below accurately describes applicable law on the subject covered at the time of its writing, the law continues to develop with the passage of time. Accordingly, before relying upon this article, care should be taken to verify that the law described herein has not changed.


I. The Definition of Hearsay


Hearsay is defined as “a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” Fed. R. Evid. 801(c). The paramount reason for excluding these types of statements is due to their lack of trustworthiness. Glen Weissenberger, Hearsay Puzzles: An Essay on Federal Evidence Rule 803(3), 64 Temp. Law Rev. 145, 145 (1991). For example, admitting these statements into evidence does the disservice of not allowing the judge or jury to evaluate the witnesses’ credibility and trustworthiness regarding his or her recollection of the statement in question. Graham C. Lilly, An Introduction To The Law Of Evidence (157-58) (1978). Therefore, courts have developed three conditions that should exist for the admittance of a potential witnesses’ testimony: (1) under oath; (2) in the presence of the trier of fact; and (3) subject to cross-examination. Robert R. Rugani, Jr., Comment, The Gradual Decline of a Hearsay Exception: The Misapplication of Federal Rule of Evidence 803(4), the Medical Diagnosis Hearsay Exception, 39 Santa Clara Law Rev. 867, 873-74 (1999).


II. The Definition of Non-Hearsay


While a statement made out of court, and presented for the truth of the matter asserted is considered hearsay, a statement that meets the following conditions is not considered hearsay:

(1) “The declarant testifies and is subject to cross-examination about a prior statement, and the statement:

(A) is inconsistent with the declarant’s testimony;

(B) is consistent with the declarant’s testimony and is offered to rebut an express or implied charge that the declarant recently fabricated it or acted from a recent improper influence or motive in so testifying; or

(C) identifies a person as someone the declarant perceived earlier.” A. R. S. § Rules of Evid., Rule 801(d)(1). 

(2) Additionally, an opposing party’s statement is non-hearsay if the statement is “offered against an opposing party and:

(A) was made by the party in an individual or representative capacity;

(B) is one the party manifested that it adopted or believed to be true;

(C) was made by a person whom the party authorized to make a statement on the subject;

(D) was made by the party’s agent or employee on a matter within the scope of that relationship and while it existed; or

(E) was made by the party’s co-conspirator during and in furtherance of the conspiracy.” A. R. S. § Rules of Evid., Rule 801(d)(2).


III. Hearsay Exceptions under Arizona Law


Although the above rules and guidelines exist for testimony to be submitted in court, there are various exceptions to the hearsay rule that have been carved out. While each exception is different and very specific, what is common to each is a situation that encourages trustworthiness at the time the statement was made. Thus, the general hearsay exception rule is to not admit the statement as hearsay unless it is within the rigid guidelines of any of the exceptions to the rule. The hearsay exceptions are split into two categories, both regarding the declarant’s availability at the time of trial. 

Under A.R.S. § Rules of Evid., Rule 803, the following types of statements are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness: 

(1) Present Sense Impression. A statement describing or explaining an event or condition, made while or immediately after the declarant perceived it.

(2) Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.

(3) Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition. This exception does not include a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the validity or terms of the declarant’s will. ... (5) Recorded Recollection. A record that: (A) is on a matter the witness once knew about but now cannot recall well enough to testify fully and accurately; (B) was made or adopted by the witness when the matter was fresh in the witness’s memory; and (C) accurately reflects the witness’s knowledge. ... (6) Records of a Regularly Conducted Activity. The record must have been made contemporaneously to the event, kept in the course of a regularly conducted activity of a business or organization, and making the record was a regular practice of that activity. ... (21) Reputation Concerning Character. A reputation among a person’s associates or in the community concerning the person’s character. ... (5) is absent from the trial or hearing and the statement’s proponent has not been able, by process or other reasonable means, to procure: (A) the declarant’s attendance, in the case of a hearsay exception under Rule 804(b)(1) or (5); or (B) the declarant’s attendance or testimony, in the case of a hearsay exception under Rule 804(b)(2), (3), or (4). But this subsection ...

(3) Statement Against Interest. A statement that: (A) a reasonable person in the declarant’s position would have made only if the person believed it to be true because, when made, it was so contrary to the declarant’s proprietary or pecuniary interest or had so great a tendency to invalidate the declarant’s claim against someone else or to expose the declarant to civil or criminal liability; and (B) is supported by corroborating circumstances that clearly indicate its trustworthiness, if it is offered in a criminal case as one that tends to expose the declarant to criminal liability. ... (6) Statement Offered Against a Party That Wrongfully Caused the Declarant’s Unavailability. A statement offered against a party that wrongfully caused–or acquiesced in wrongfully causing–the declarant’s unavailability as a witness, and did so intending that result."

The "Rule 803 - Exceptions to the Against Hearsay-Regardless of Whether the Declarant is Available as a Witness from Case Text.

The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness:

(1) Present Sense Impression. A statement describing or explaining an event or condition, made while or immediately after the declarant perceived it.

(2) Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.

(3) Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition. A statement of the declarant's then-existing state of mind (such as motive, intent, or plan) or emotional, sensory, or physical condition (such as mental feeling, pain, or bodily health), but not including a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the validity or terms of the declarant's will."


Consider now this author's legal Declaration immediately below in Figure 9. regarding the events of June 25-27, 1990: "Under penalty of perjury" Schoeffler had discovered and / or witnessed many actions listed here: Schoeffler legally declares the following: (a) Having worked on the June 1990 Dude Fire as a Field Observer (FOBS) with direction from the District Ranger (DR) to the two Fire Bosses that "Schoeffler is forbidden to give any tactical or strategical advice or suggestions." DR Gunzel, among other things, had targeted Schoeffler with Disparate Treatment because Schoeffler refused to heed his repeated commands demanding my respect. Schoeffler replied that he would respect his position as the DR but he had to otherwise earn Schoeffler's respect. This went on for about 14 years. (a) Somewhat ignoring the DR's "strategy and tactics" orders to me, early in the afternoon of June 26th, while working with some of the R-3 and R-6 Hot Shot Crews slowly firing along the Fuller Creek Road above the Bonita Creek Subdivision with the local dozer that had been idle most of the night because of no lights, this author cautioned them to stop firing and contact them regarding our actions because we were at a “trigger point” to possibly funnel fire down toward them if we continued firing out. We heard one of the Region 6 Hot Shot Crews mention that he had a small patch of brush to burn off.  This author cautioned him to “burn it from the top down.”  He stated that it was only a small section, and he was going to light it from below, as this author proceeded down toward the Control Rd. There was some concern over the radio, then “losing it” while turning to see a small black smoke column.

As it approached a small lateral ridgeline, its intensity increased and quickly rolled into an ocean-surfer-like curl as it proceeded South toward the Control Rd. As it crested the ridgetop it spread out along the ridgetop where this author had earlier scouted along the hot perimeter in the still-standing, unburned chaparral.


On a subsequent Staff Ride, one of the former Plumas Hot Shots, standing at the large Juniper snag where they met Geoffrey Hatch emerging from being burned over, had recalled seeing this approaching smoke column. This author mentioned this to the AUSA Johns (RiP) and it was evidently shelved as unimportant or of no “probative value” i.e. “Probative value is the probability of evidence to reach its proof purpose of a relevant fact in issue. It is one of the main elements of admitting evidence, as the admitted evidence must be relevant, tending to make the fact in issue more likely or less likely to happen, no matter how slight its probability is.”  Cornell Legal Institute.


On the afternoon of June 26, 1990, the Perryville Type 2 Inmate Crew Boss Larry Terra working under the direction of the AZ Department of Corrections, had abandoned his Crew driving a DOC vehicle on the Control Road near Fuller Creek as the fire was crossing the road ahead of him. I stopped him and asked what he was doing. He told me "I should have never left my Crew." I asked him who his Crew was and he stated Perryville. I told him they were in a bad way. He again stated "I should have never left my Crew." I noticed that there were cigarettes and sodas on the seat next to him. Also present hearing this conversation were several Payson Hot Shots and some from one of the nearby Region 6 (PNW) Hot Shot Crews. The Navajo Scouts Crew Boss knew Terra had left his Crew. And the Dude Fire Investigation Team also knew Terra was gone from his Crew within three days after the fatalities, and that it would have had no significant outcome of Perryville's final fatal outcomes (which is hard to believe); (b) The Tonto NF Dispatcher and / or Center Manager told me that at some point shortly after the fatalities, that he noticed the two Fire Bosses (a) Ed Hollenshead and (b) Walt Shaw were shredding key documents at the TNF Forest Service Supervisor's Office from the Fire Package consisting of all the documents and records related the fire. (NWCG Red Book Chapter 11.) He stated that the Investigation Team would need them for their investigation. The Fire Bosses told him "If you don't like it, you can just leave" as they continued to shred documents; (c) After checking in with the two IMTs on top of the Rim to notify them of our intentions and discern theirs, per the IMT Plans Chief direction, I attended a portion of the June 27, 1990, IMT briefing when they were discussing the fire's direction and timing which included Tonto Village, ignoring the more imminent potential regarding the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery (TCFH) . I corrected them on their timing when eventually discussing the TCFH plans. TNF PRD DFMO / Technical Advisor Velasco stated: "don't listen to Schoeffler, he's exaggerating and doesn't know what he's talking about." AZ Game & Fish Officer (AGF) Tom Lister followed Schoeffler outside and asked me if I meant what I said about the timing, and I told him I was. As it turned out, I missed the timing by about 30 minutes. (d) during the late-evening hours of June 26th and the early-evening hours of June 27th, the Dude Fire made a most impressive, significant lateral Thermal Belt-induced fire run from the Bonita Creek area East approximately five miles to Big Canyon during the early morning hours of June 27, 1990, About midday on June 27th , I was instructed to go to the historic Zane Grey Cabin (ZGC) to assist protecting / saving it. No one was there when I arrived, so I went to Kohl's Ranch (KR) to call the IMT Plans Chief on the KR pay phone to inform him there was nobody there and no repeater to call on the radio. He said "there should be." Eventually, myself and another half dozen TNF PRD individuals, including our Asst. FMO (including a Type 6 Engine), in an Independent Action, had arrived there to protect / save the historic ZGC. We first went to the nearby Haught Cabin which was safe on its own providing us an area to retreat to if needed. We began firing out around the ZGC when our AFMO told us to abandon the firing operation even though we felt safe and we insisted on continuing due to the imminent threat to the ZGC. He persisted and we left the area, hearing propane bottles going off as we left. Unbeknownst to us, the TNF PRD District Fire Management Officer (DFMO) Velasco and the Payson Hot Shots had gone to the ZGC entrance and turned around before entering the cabin site heading out along the Roberts Mesa Rd (Part 2. Figure 11a.) per the DFMO's direction. The Payson HS, minus their Crew Boss (for some unknown reason), went to the Collins Ranch area and with the skillful aid of some helicopters, were able to save most of the homes and structures there; ( d) myself and a few others then proceeded to the nearby Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery to begin a firing operation there. There were three to four residence structures, several small storage sheds, a few above-ground power boxes, and several fish structures. Our AFMO was our Lookout below us. We began at the far upper end at the several small storage sheds and proceeded to ring-fire the residence structures on our way down and out. Our AFMO / Lookout was insisting that we pull out of the area because he claimed that "our Escape Route was being cut off." I told him that we were good / safe because it was providing safe black below us. We eventually successfully ring-fired the three residence structures with no losses, however, a few storage sheds burned and the fish structure had several holes burned holes through the over-arching canvas. All of our firing operation fire behavior proceeded up the face of the Mogollon Rim and to the top where the Apache-Sitgreaves NF fire personnel were aware of our firing operation and successfully firing off the 300 Road (FR 300). The DR would eventually pressure our AFMO to claim that he was "threatened by Schoeffler and his firing operation." Schoeffler mentioned this to AG&F Lister and he would eventually have plaques made for us stating that we "saved the Hatchery." Lister arranged to have these plaques presented to us in front of the TNF PRD Ranger Station with the local Payson Round-up newspaper taking photos and writing a short article about it. It basically emasculated the DR attempt to discredit Schoeffler and set him up for his desired disciplinary action against Schoeffler. TNF PRD Diamond Point Lookout Jay Dial, a Vietnam Veteran with PTSD, would flashback to his Viet Nam combat days with the helicopters, airtankers, and Perryville fatalities. He sought help from the TNF PRD for this and was told to suck it up and get over it. In other words, he received no PTSD treatment whatsoever.

I am aware that this declaration may be filed with the US District Court of Arizona; and that it is the legal equivalent of a statement under oath. 1. I submit this declaration on behalf of myself based on my personal knowledge of the various 1990 decisions and actions by Southwest Area (SWA) Regional Fire personnel from notes proximate to the events.  2. I relied in good faith on my interpretation of the emails and conversations with SWA employees and supervisors regarding the Dude Fire from June 25 to mid-July 1990. I was initially a FOBS then asked to serve as the Operations for the Fire Rehabilitation, supervising over 80 personnel. This author's time on the Dude Fire resulted in PTSD and this author was psychologically unable to return to the Dude Fire area for over a year.  9. Fred J. Schoeffler is an outspoken critic of the fatal June 26, 1990, Dude Fire fatalities, researching, writing, publishing, and presenting about this predictable and preventable tragedy in various national and international forums since 2018, including several RT-130 Refresher presentations. Fred J. Schoeffler is boldly Christian, utilizing numerous Bible quotes in his various forums and postings dedicated to reducing the number of wildland fire fatalities due to all manner of human and psychological factors by providing research and education to wildland fire agencies, educators, firefighters, and the general public. 11. These various forums and postings include Google Scholar and those listed below in 11. ( ) 12. Research Gate,, annual Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) International Conferences, Yarnell Hill Fire Revelations and Project 10 & 18 International websites, and other forums. 13.  I certify that this is true and correct. Executed in Pine, AZ on this 7th day of May 2024 with an electronic signature. Fred John Schoeffler - Project 10 & 18 Intl. President. Signed: Fred John Schoeffler [End of Schoeffler declaration]

Figure 9. Schoeffler Declaration Source: Schoeffler


Consider a closed caption Snippet of AZ DOC Crew Boss Larry Terra lying about his timing of being aware of his lost Crewmembers (Figure 10.) The full Dude Fire Story by Phoenix News Channel 3 video below in Figure 10a.

Figure 10. Closed caption Snippet of AZ DOC Crew Boss Terra lying and / or lying by omission about his timing of being aware of his lost Crewmembers Source: Channel 3 News, YouTube

Figure 10a. Dude Fire Story video Source: Channel 3 News, YouTube

Figure 10b. Dude Fire Story video Snippet of fish raceways and canvas coverings Source: Channel 3 News, YouTube

Figure 10c. Dude Fire Story video Snippet of fish hatchery residence Source: Channel 3 News, YouTube

Figure 10d. "You saved Tonto Creek Hatchery" plaque to seven PRD employees who saved the Hatchery Source: AZ G&F, Schoeffler

Figure 10e. "Several from Tonto [NF] honored for fire rescue" Payson Roundup news article for seven PRD employees who saved the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery Source: AZ G&F, Schoeffler

"Heros - Bud [Buzz] Teter, Dan Eckstein, Roger Sorenson, Timothy Short, and Floyd Sebald"

In the above original Figure 6a. Payson Roundup newspaper article, this author stated: "We weren't going to let it go. We knew we had to do something" because the USFS was going to do absolutely nothing and allow the ZGC, including all of its irreplaceable historical contents, and the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery to burn.

The term "Independent Action" is used by this author above (Figure 6.) and is defined here per the Mission Centered Solutions (MCS) report titled: "Southern California Firestorm 2003 Report for the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (WLF LLC): Paula Nasiatka Lessons Learned Program Mgr, Natl. Advanced Resource Tech, Ctr, Pinal Air Park; Marana, AZ 12/8/03"

Consider now some notable and valuable WLF LLC applicable Independent Action excerpts related to that subject area: "Without communications, all you have is independent action. Emergency Operations Captain. (p. 12) ... Leaders repeatedly reported that the most effective way to overcome communications incompatibility and conflicts was to meet face-to-face to coordinate. However, while leaders were engaged in face-to-face discussions, they could not always give updates and new information to resources under them. In many areas, especially those protected by resources that were not local to the area, leaders reported this information gap caused a hesitancy to engage because they felt they faced increased risk resulting from the lack of communication. Other units, recognizing the lack of communication, were forced to exercise their initiative and take independent action in areas where they felt the situation and the values at risk required it. (p. 13)

"Almost every respondent, regardless of position, validated that individual initiative, exercised by single resources, crew leaders, strike teams, division supervisors, and battalion chiefs, was paramount to success during the initial response phase of these incidents (up to 36 hours). However, all cautioned that there is a difference between independent action and freelancing. Independent action is empowered and focused effort that furthered the accomplishment of leader’s intent. Freelancing is unguided effort that is possibly counterproductive or even dangerous. (pp. 20-21)

"All respondents acknowledged that at no time should any firefighter unilaterally ignore orders or independently reassign themselves when effective command and control is in place. However, in this case, firefighters described responding to multiple, emerging catastrophes. Effective command and control and common communications were unavailable. The values at risk were so great that firefighter felt that disengagement was not a viable option. Leaders said that effective independent action was enabled in different ways. Some incident management teams delegated authority to divisions and functional groups, provided intent, laid out risk criteria and any constraints, and received updates as the situation allowed. As things rapidly changed on the ground, strike team leaders or group supervisors stated they could make decisions based on values at risk, reposition resources, and initiate actions, then tie in with overhead and provide updates. Leaders felt this strategy led to several successful decisions to prep, treat, or conduct burnouts that were critical in saving neighborhoods.  ... Other respondents reported that effective independent action was a more collaborative effort. An air attack supervisor worked with interagency dispatchers and air tankers to take action to protect subdivisions where no ground resources were available until air ground operations could be planned and tankers ordered. The most commonly reported type of effective independent action occurred in the WUI. Both structural and wildland resources had responded, and the incident was escalating at a phenomenal rate. Respondents said that limited available resources were fully committed, and few reinforcements were on the way. Communications presented a serious problem. Leaders said they just started forming strike teams or functional groups from available resources. They assessed the situation and started taking action where they believed they could do the most good, forming their own incident organizations: exercising command, creating staff positions where needed, and starting to document the resources assigned. They described functioning in this manner until they could tie-in with the emerging incident management organization. (p. 21)

"The result was that firefighters and support staff at all levels were being left to make many of these decisions themselves. While it appears that these decisions were made successfully, it was done in an environment lacking firm guidance. Respondents almost universally reported that they based decision-making and independent action on their experience. Less experienced people said they were at a significant disadvantage in being able to weigh the risks in the absence of clear guidance, and that they frequently questioned themselves and their judgment in the emotion and chaos of the situation. Experienced firefighters reported the importance of having confidence that their tactical decisions—based on training, planning, doctrine, and experience—were the right ones. In the aftermath, after revisiting affected areas, these same firefighters reported that they could see their decisions were the best they could make under the circumstances. (p. 30)

"A large majority of respondents commented on the need for firefighters to be able to exercise initiative and take independent action in a way that meets leader’s intent and furthers the accomplishment of incident objectives. Because of the vast scale of several of the southern California incidents, units found themselves in initial attack mode (or conducting independent action in extended attack) for unusually long periods before agencies could establish effective command and control. The dynamic nature and size of some incidents created periods where effective central control was lost or just not possible. Respondents from all levels of incident organization cited numerous examples when success was achieved (or at least failure averted) when leaders exercised initiative and took action. (p. 60)

"Often leaders took the actions they did because they believed that their chosen course of action best supported their supervisor’s objectives. Consequently, they believed that it was important for senior leaders to empower subordinates to take the initiative by making their intent clear, providing guidance, and delegating authority for action as appropriate. Respondents reinforced that a firefighter should never, in any circumstances, unilaterally ignore orders or independently reassign themselves when effective command and control is in place. However, those interviewed wanted to see the ICS remain flexible enough to allow for safe, effective action in the absence of communications or established command and control. They wanted to see wildland and structural firefighting culture, doctrine, and training support this concept. (p. 60)


Bear in mind that Wildland Fire personnel are involved in a quasi military "inherently dangerous" profession where you're generally required to follow orders unless they are illegal, immoral, unethical, or unsafe. The following California Law Review article by Iowa Law school professor Mark Osiel will be informative, clarifying the issue from a self-styled military perspective.

California Law Review Vol. 86 October 1998 No. 5 Copyright © 1998 by California Law Review, Inc. Obeying Orders: Atrocity, Military Discipline, and the Law of War by Iowa Law School professor Mark J. Osiel. These principles are well worth your time and effort and for later discussions.


"The law now generally excuses soldiers who obey a superior's criminal order unless its illegality would be immediately obvious to anyone on its face. Such illegality is "manifest," on account of its procedural irregularity, its moral gravity, and the clarity of the legal prohibition it violates. These criteria, however, often conflict with one another, are over- and underinclusive, and vulnerable to frequent changes in methods of warfare. Though sources of atrocity are shown to be highly variable, these variations display recurrent patterns, indicating corresponding legal norms best suited to prevention. There are also discernible connections, that the law can better exploit, between what makes men willing to fight ethically and what makes them willing to fight at all. Specifically, obedience to life-threatening orders springs less from habits of automatism than from soldiers' informal loyalties to combat buddies, whose disapproval they fear. Except at the very lowest levels, efficacy in combat similarly depends more on tactical imagination than immediate, letter-perfect adherence to orders. To foster such practical judgment in the field, military law should rely more on general standards than the bright-line rules it has favored in this area. A stringent duty to disobey all unlawful orders, coupled to a standard-like excuse for reasonable errors, would foster greater disobedience to criminal orders. It would encourage a more fine-grained attentiveness to soldiers' actual situations. It would thereby enable many to identify a superior's order as unlawful, under the circumstances, in situations where unlawfulness may not be immediately and facially obvious to all. This approach aims to prevent atrocity less by increased threat of ex post punishment, than by ex ante revisions in the legal structure of military life. It contributes to "civilianizing" military law while nonetheless building upon virtues already internal to the soldier's calling. In developing these conclusions, the author draws evidence from a wide array of recent wars and peacekeeping missions."


The fact that a great many people believe something

is no guarantee of its truth. 

 W. Somerset Maugha (English playwright, novelist, and writer)


The tragic tale of another deadly Arizona wildfire The incredible story of a 1990 Arizona forest fire, the prison inmates who died fighting it, and the families who struggled for justice. ( The Type II Fire Boss Ed Hollenshead, is specifically mentioned as well as Larry Terra, the Correctional Officer and Crew Boss that abandoned his Crew and lied about it are mentioned in the above article


They'll never admit to what they did, because if they admit to one thing, they'll have to admit to it all. The Nazis perfected the technique of the Big Lie—saying things outrageously false again and again until people start to believe them. And another source from the Jewish Virtual Library.

Figure 11. Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels photo  Source: Jewish Virtual Library


"If you really could make a lie sound true by repetition, there would be no need for all the other techniques of persuasion. One obstacle is what you already know. Even if a lie sounds plausible, why would you set what you know aside just because you heard the lie repeatedly? Our minds are prey to the illusion of truth effect because our instinct is to use short-cuts in judging how plausible something is. Once we know about the effect we can guard against it. Part of this is double-checking why we believe what we do – if something sounds plausible is it because it really is true, or have we just been told that repeatedly? This is why scholars are so mad about providing references - so we can track the origin on any claim, rather than having to take it on faith. But part of guarding against the illusion is the obligation it puts on us to stop repeating falsehoods. We live in a world where the facts matter, and should matter. If you repeat things without bothering to check if they are true, you are helping to make a world where lies and truth are easier to confuse. So, please, think before you repeat. Repetition makes a fact seem more true, regardless of whether it is or not. Understanding this effect can help you avoid falling for propaganda." Psychologist Tom Stafford. How liars create the ‘illusion of truth’


“Don’t believe everything you hear: Real eyes, Realize, Real lies.”


Figure 12. Participants in the 1999 Dude Fire Staff Ride at the fire shelter deployment site (Stand 4). Snippet of USDA USFS photo Source: MTDC

Ask yourself if these "official" Dude Fire Staff Ride participants in Figure 12. above are being told the truth about what really happened on this historical wildfire and why. In situations like this - attempting to save the ZGC and the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery - we need to always watch out for the “The Trap Of Passive Leadership" (e.g. Forbes, Medium, Fast Company, and Wide Lens Leadership). We accomplish this by seeing something you dislike and / or are uncomfortable with and you fail to say anything about it. So then, say something and effect the changes needed because you and / or your resources' safety and welfare or life and property may be on the line.

The greatest challenges a wildland firefighter could face comes in the form of disruptive or catastrophic events that occur with little or no warning. These events can have profound impacts. When disruptive events occur with little or no warning, they are often called “Black Swan events.” More specifically, black swan events have a major impact on society and presumably were unpredictable. The ZGC debacle was clearly a "disruptive event" and yet it was clearly a predictable event that could have easily been averted. On June 26, 1990,t he Prescott HS Foreman Tony Sciacca spoke up about the imminent downdrafts. However, was it a true Black Swan event that occurred with little or no warning according to the Fire-Rescue International article and its author Mark Novak?

Figure 13. Black Swan image Source: Fire Rescue 1 website


Consider now this excerpt from former Dept. of Homeland Security Agency (DHS) officers Phillip Haney and Art Moore in the Reviewers Bookwatch (2017) "See Something, Say Nothing'" - "When recently retired DHS frontline officer and intelligence expert Philip Haney bravely tried to say something about the people and organizations that threatened the nation, his intelligence information was eliminated, and he was investigated by the very agency assigned to protect the country. The national campaign by the DHS to raise public awareness of terrorism and terrorism-related crime known as If You See Something, Say Something effectively has become If You See Something, Say Nothing." Without a doubt, this last sentence is much like what we have been experiencing for many years regarding all of the wildland fire mishap cover-ups, lies, and whitewashes; the June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire being the biggest one. When the Government and / or Government officials have "concerns" about something, that's almost always a good sign that you're on to something they are up to. And that is well worth pursuing and verifying their alleged "concerns."


Link to What Really Happened On The June 1990 Dude Fire? Part 2. here


bottom of page