1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face Foregin troops come to US to fight wild

    www.newsmax.com reports foregign military troops called ot help combat the wild fires out wes t WHILE fireman sit at home not called out WHY NOT????

  2. #2
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It appears that there are a great number of individuals which feel the same as you.
    NIFC has set up a page to answer some of the questions about assisting in the fire situation.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey fire folks! I just returned from a fire assignment outside of Helena, Montana. I was on the Canyon-Ferry Complex Incident as a
    Structural Protection Specialist. This complex of fires had grown to about 40K acres and had a reported loss of 40 structures. However, many many others were saved by a tremendous effort from local volunteer and career FFs, federal wildland FFs and contract FFs.

    To answer the question about structural firefighters assisting with supression efforts out west...There is no easy answer as to why FFs are sitting when the need is so critical and FFs from other countries may come here to fight fire or assist with mangement.

    The federal wildland agencies follow strict guidelines on who is hired for firefighting.
    One must be trained and Red Carded first by your state or federal wildland agency. The only other avenue that I can suggest is contacting a fire department in the west that is involved in fire operations at one of these fires and ask if you can assist them. This would undoubtedly apply to volunteer fire departments.


    [This message has been edited by SWIDFCWINS (edited August 05, 2000).]

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Speaking from a California Wildland viewpoint, I understand alot of career and volunteer firefighters went to Forida this year and a couple of years ago. Out west rely on our National NWCG partners to assist us on fire suppression. Wildland firefighting in timber and wildland firefighing in explosive brush both present their special needs. Special day on day out training still does not guarantee safety as proven when our own CDF firefighters got burned, during a thurderstorm down draft. While it is hard to sit home and watch it on T.V. we still have alot of our own troops who are not on the fire line, instead they sit and wait in case the next one hits. They want to fight fire also, but those are the breaks. It would be hard to put on a training course for "volunteers" becase we do infact "fight fire out west" just a little bit different. But thanks to all those who want to help. We are not really that short on troops as you think. We are just holding them in reserve for the next round due next weekend.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Sorry Mark, I live in Colorado and my back yard is burning up. Our resources are dwindling, our dept has been sending engines everywhere, overtime monies are drying up. Personally, I think we should take all the help we can get.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We are in the same boat Bob is.... our county has resources spread out in Wyoming, Idaho, MT, etc.. As these folks are released from those fires they will be kept in county due to the extreme fire danger here and the (what has become daily) dry thunderstoms with lightning.

    Other issues include equipment and training. Yes, there are a tremendous amount of firefighters avaiable, but are they trained and equipped for the wildland enviroment?

    By equipped I mean... proper protective clothing and apparatus. Most of these fires these fires are not the best place for structural engines.

    Should you have the proper training, ppe and apparatus contact your state forestry agency and let them know. Also, as stated in one of the other posts.. Red Cards are a big issue. This is how the incident command teams determine if someone is qualified. And last but not least is physical condition..... The feds also have a requirement for that which is the Pack Test.

    [This message has been edited by mtnfireguy (edited August 07, 2000).]

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I just returned from a week of fighting fire in Wyoming. My department and one in Wyoming started a firefighter exchange program this year. We sent 4 guys to learn about wildland operations and they will send 4 guys here to learn more about structural and "urban" firefighting. It was an eye opening experience for me, but I had a great time.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    As a Wildfire Air Attack Officer in Alberta Canada I appreciate the comments about using "foreigner" to combat the fires in the western US. From our stand point we do not see borders as a barrier but only see the need to assist our neighbors. It is a pitty when politcs interferes with interagency cooperation. Try explaining to a fire victim that his house burned down even though resources 1 hour away sat and practiced feeling helpess to assit because political might overruled humanitarian need.
    Yes Canadian resoucres have been sent south this year but during the last many years we have appreciated the hotshot crews from the US releaving and assiting our exhausted teams. I have worked with people from Alaska, Montana and Oregon and thanked them for their professionalism and efforts to help.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have no problem with "foreigner's" coming to help especially if they're the closest help. I see on tv they are begging for help mostly crew bosses and EMT's. They are stating that thier primary concern is structure protection. Then why did they turn down myself and several others help. We are members of a vol. fire co. with the least of us with 6 yrs. service, we are also members of the state hotshots with 2yrs and green carded (2miles 30 minutes 25 lbs). I know it's not a red card, and I know the fires out there are way different then the one's here in the east. I'm also an EMT.
    If one of those house's that burned was mine you would have a very hard time explaning to me why you turned down help from any where or any one!!!
    If training is the important thing them why are they putting soldier's on the line with one or two day's training? Which one of them stated on national TV "He had no clue what they were doing out there!" It sounds like to me they need to throw the rule book out!

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Having worked with several Canadians over the past couple weeks with structure defense I feel we have a lot to learn. The Ontario bunch spend less time formulating a defense, less time rigging it, and provide more coverage to structures than I am accustom to seeing. This is a good exchange. These folks are focused, dedicated professionals. Now the medical aspect is different. We held crews in camp, and did not place spike camps because we did not have the medical support to crews and overhead. Our emts have to be fireline qualified, they go where the fire fighters are, and live through the same conditions as they do. In the northern rockies we have a special program titled IMS, Incident Medical Specialist, that focuses on "backcountry medicine" ..... my interpretation. They can also push some drugs as the program has DR advisors. Basic emts without line quals. can attend to national standards protocols, but from incident base. My recommendation is don't give up. If you were refused the opportunity you want, find out exactly why, and persue it. To become fireline qualified takes about 24 hours of you lifetime.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    This may help answer some of the questions that have been raised in this topic. I was one of the firefighters who responded to the wildfires in Florida in 1998 as part of the contigency from the state of Maryland. To begin with our help was not requested from any of the federal agancies involved, our help was requested by the state of Florida under what is known as the EMAC (emergency management Assistance compact), this is an agreement between numerous states along the east coast, in this agreement all of the bases are covered as far as funding, liability, equipment, housing, food, and so-on. This was originally dreamed up as a result of the hurricanes we receive here, but was first used in for the fires. Maryland responded to the call from help with approx. 200 people,and approx. 20-30 vehciles, and with anywhere from 50-100+ additional people on standby in maryland if needed. over two weeks there I came to learn a few things

    1.IF WHAT YOU HAVE IS WHAT THEY NEED AT THAT EXACT MOMENT YOU ARE GOOD AS GOLD: The state asked for our help not the feds, so the feds at first refused to accept the "liability" of having structural firefighters on the crews. The EMAC with FLA. covered everything but the FEDS were not involved in the EMAC, so they did not consider us part of their system, but were more than glad to use our euqipment, cause they really needed that and quick, but not the people. the day before we arrived in Florida,the feds were already putting in requests for our personnel, and they knew of our training, and thats why they issued us gear, because they needed help at that time but when we got there believe it our not, it rained every day, and the fires subsided, and they cut back to 12 hour operations instead of 24 hour, that meant their workforce doubled so they didnt need our help anymore, so they said, that is until..... the west started to burn and they had to pull crews from FLA. to go out west, and they still had alot of area that had to be cleaned up.So they accepted our people. So if you can get hired, or join a FD or crew that would be youre best way to start.
    and get your red card!

    2.ONCE YOU GET IN YOURE GOOD AS GOLD: We later found out there were crews from other states in the same boat as us, but once they got into the rotation with the feds, they were used every day. This started to happen with our people too. So never give up, our management officials, and the persons in charge form maryland, made sure that we were used. They were butting heads with the feds, but they never gave in.

    3.WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS DO WHAT YOU KNOW:the state of FLA. received a request from Flagler county, one of the worst hit areas for some relief firefighters to man their stations. Since there was such a large number of us from MD. we were assigned to cover the county, and finished out our time performing that role. And after over a week in there stations, talking to their members, the citizens, finding out that the people actually slept better knowing there were fresh crews sitting in their stations, cause there guys were all worn out. This makes you know what you did was appreciated. There is always help needed, just not always on the front lines.

    4. WILDLAND FIREFIGHTING IS A BITCH: Hats off to the guys working them, cause as I quickly found out from the short amount of time in the field with a crew of hot-shots from Montana, I believe thats where they were from. I came to understand as to why, the feds are cautious about using just every person who ofers to help, cause I saw people in poor, good, and excellent shape, who had problems doing the job. And this was on flat ground, let alone mountains. These are not like our standard structure assignments, a short period of excitement, and a few hours clean up and we are done, this is 12 hours a day, every day of bull work, reminded me of working on the farm as a kid. wildland firefighting is nothing like structural firefighting!

    Had the time of my life down there, and learned more about wildland firefighting, politics, and myself in two weeks, than I had in 13 years of service.

    oh and as to why they are using "foreigners" the US has mual aid and educational ageements wih man other nations for the puposes of training, and assistance. I learned this as we watched Puerto Rican, and Russian firefighters walk past us and onto the lines.

    hope this explains a little about why they are not calling for anyone and everyone.

    [This message has been edited by fd186 (edited August 23, 2000).]

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    A group of us from our mountain rescue team (technical rescue, EMTs, helitac, extensive backcountry experience, etc.) received our red cards, etc. last year. Wildland fire PPE is ready to go and our team is on the list of resources.....

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