Project Leader: Jeff Bowman Project Dates: 12 September - 18 November, 2011 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hitch Report 3
Weeks 10 Oct. – 21 Oct.
Rolling in the Deep.
The first week began with James departing for Texas on a fire assignment. It was a great opportunity for him to work closely with a local fire crew and experience the incident command system found on fire assignments. Even though it was great for James, the trip was short lived as the crew was de-mobilized shortly after arriving in Texas.
Monday night Mike (SCA Native Plant and Fire program coordinator) arrived in Springerville for a site visit. He arrived just in time for the start of a massive juniper thinning project. The project is intended to remove juniper trees from an area used by antelope and other wildlife during the winter months. It’s an important seasonal transition area of land. The juniper trees have taken over and restrict the line of sight of the antelope making it difficult for them to use the area. The crew was tasked with removing these bushy bushes. This project provided the opportunity for the crew to get lots of hands on the chainsaws which seemed to make everyone happy to gain the experience. Let’s see how long they like the chainsaw when it consumes most of our work for the next couple of weeks.
That weekend some of the crew hit the road to Flagstaff in order to climb Mt. Humphreys, the tallest mountain in Arizona. This adventure seemed doomed from the start because of the weather. The mountain had received snow and most of the trail was covered with ice. But thanks to some above average temperatures during the week partnered with some great sun, the trail thawed out enough for some of the members to reach the summit.
One of our own, Adam Bigalk celebrated a birthday on Sunday and the crew came together for some cake and ice cream and a poorly sang Happy Birthday. Adam enjoyed the surprise and everyone enjoyed some much deserved birthday cake.
The second week saw the crew thinning junipers. By the end of the week the crew was ready for a break from the saw and relaxed with a much deserved weekend. Some of the members went camping while others enjoyed the World Series. The time off was well deserved after a tough week in the sun holding a saw for hours upon hours.
Next week there is a possibility to start prescribed burns for our forest. Hopefully the weather cooperates with us, so keep your fingers crossed.
Hitch Report 2 – 26 Sept. through 7 Oct.
The hitch started off with the crew experiencing line digging for the first time since arriving in the Springerville Fire district. Line is dug around the planned burn area to keep the fire contained. The crew was able to work with the fuels (burning material, trees) assistant fire management officer all week. We finished line on two areas being prepped for a prescribed burn scheduled for the upcoming weeks, the first area being approximately 2000 acres and the second approximately 2400 acres with some great grass stretches. So look forward to some great fire pictures in the near future.
On Wednesday the crew visited dispatch in Show Low, AZ. This is where all the radio magic happens. Dispatch receives all calls for the entire Apache-Sitgreaves forest! After a tour from their staff, the crew finished their Red Card (wildland fire fighting certification) paperwork as well as their AD (on-call fire fighters) paperwork. Now the crew is able to help the forest with any fires as well as join them on any trips.
The crew finished out the week with some finishing touches on a fire line and a tool re-handling class. Re-handling is a necessary skill when working outdoors, especially since our handles are taking a beating when everyone is so much stronger after all the PT we do!
That weekend some of the members climbed Mt. Baldy, the second highest peak in Arizona. The entire hike is 15 miles long, topping out at 11,420 feet. The hike began early in the morning with a crisp air. The crew ascended on the western trail made up of long switch backs. The peak was reached at noon just in time for lunch. After a quick lunch and some picture modeling, the members took the eastern trail for their descent. Offering a much better view, the trail went through tall pines, large rock formations and even a plane wreck. After a long hike the members ordered some pizza for a job well done.
The next week was spent helping a couple of engine boss’ clear a dozer line put it on one of our prescribed burn areas. Dozer lines are used for fire lines when the terrain permits, and is much easier than using hand tools. This had the crew swamping for a couple of sawyers as well as removing debris. On Wednesday the crew passed the IS-700 class, Introduction to NIMS (national incident management system), a required class from FEMA. We also learned this week that an engine crew leaving for some fires in Texas had one spot open for an SCA member. After a very intense and nerve racking name drawing, James got the lucky spot.
The week ended with a breakfast at the Helitack (helicopter fire suppression) house. Everyone brought ingredients for breakfast burritos and watched as the forest service used a giant skillet contraption to cook up some delicious and large burritos. The rest of the day had the crew working on resumes, applying for jobs, and helping the forest service strip old trucks for auction. Next week the crew will be conducting meadow restoration projects by thinning out junipers or starting prescribed burn operations.
Hitch Report: 12 Sept. – 23 Sept.
The first two weeks are finished. The crew hit the ground running and was quickly integrated into the Forest Services’ fire crews. We jumped into their 4-ten schedule, working four days a week for ten hours per day. We started every day with PT (physical training) to get the blood flowing and usually played a game or two of volleyball before the day begun. We had daily weather briefs and SITREPS (situational reports) about the fire activity around the country. The crew is quickly learning the lingo of the fire world and is already being looked at as just one of the regulars.
The first couple of days were spent moving into our fire barracks (two double wides sitting on one of the forest service yards) and exploring the town. Springerville is very small and we quickly had seen most of what there is to see. Josh was quick to make friends all over town, learning who works where and how to score some beef jerky. Bryan is already a regular member of our local church.
The first week of our work here was spent exploring the forest. We were given a great guided tour by a local engine boss, Dawn and an assistant engine boss, Jesse. We were able to see some of the beautiful recreation areas as well as some of the areas hit hardest by the recent 500,000 acre fire. The rest of the week was spent conducting our S-212 (chainsaw) class. The crew spent all week using the saw and listening to the local experts on the ins and outs of the chainsaw. All members successfully passed their certification examination and all members are currently class A fellers with the forest service. That weekend the members were able to relax around town and explore some of the forest on foot by taking a great hike along a river.
The second week provided the members with some “on the job training.” Because of the fire most of the roads within the forest are closed due to hazard trees. Our crew was able to assist the fire crews in removing these trees and by Thursday we had finished the list of roads needing clearing. The monsoon season is coming to a close here, but not before the crew was able to hone their off road driving skills by successfully navigating some tricky and muddy terrain. But the RAM is tougher than most and overcame every obstacle.
The members spent some more time around town including attending the homecoming football game on Friday night. This was a must since Round Valle High school has the ONLY high school dome stadium in the country, which is also visible from miles away.
The forest is currently in elk hunting season and is full of hunters looking for the big kill. Despite this, the crew can usually spot a deer off in the distance or a hawk soaring above. The crew has yet to spot some of the more dangerous creatures in the forest, mostly bears and badgers. But hopefully we won’t meet them up close, and all thanks to Adam’s knowledge of bears. He taught us quick to announce yourself by saying “Hey Bear,” everywhere we go.
The weather is starting to change quickly here. The highs during the day are dropping little by little and most of the time it doesn’t reach above 60 degrees in the forest, mostly because we are doing a lot of our work above 9000 feet. The crew is having a great time and is learning a lot. Next week we start our meadow restoration project, which will have the crew thinning out junipers with the chainsaws.
Hello. My name is Jeff Bowman and I will be the Project Leader for the brand new Veteran Fire Corps Program. I call Baltimore, MD my home. I have worked with the SCA for the past three years leading crews of high school students completing urban conservation projects in Baltimore City. My crews have removed invasive plants species, completed various trail maintence and just recently built a fifty foot boardwalk. I served in the Marine Corps for four years completing three deployments, one in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. After I left the Marines I started taking classes at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County towards a degree in Biology. I love the outdoors and working with urban youth. I am very excited for the oppurtunity to work with fellow veterans once again and learn as much as possible.
Veterans Fire Corps provides recent-era Veterans with the training, credentials and experience they need to competitively pursue wildland fire and/or forestry careers. The team will be based in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. The team will provide assistance with habitat restoration and maintenance on agency and partner lands. Projects may include participation on prescribed fires, fuels reduction, fire effects monitoring, FIREWISE educational outreach and pre fire preparation of burn units. This position offers a great variety of field and office work including: hiking forest settings gathering field data, working with GPS hardware to navigate to plots, using GIS software to create maps, and managing the FFI database. The work schedule may vary, typical work hitches could include working up to 4 consecutive 10-hour days with 3 days off. Site-specific work schedule and details are developed by the SCA Project Leader and with guidance from the local US Forest Service Fire Ecologist.
Team members will begin implementation by successfully arriving at orientation with the necessary and required equipment. Orientation will take place at a campground located in Prescott, AZ. Orientation will begin with members completing Red Card certification which includes S-190/S-130 wildland fire classes. After completion of Red Card certification members will complete their orientation to the SCA followed by Wilderness First Aid certification.
The team will then move vehicles, equipment, and personal to Springerville, AZ and move into team barracks. Upon beginning work the team will facilitate the completion of required work while partnered with the US Forest Service personal located in Springerville, AZ.
The management concerns on the Apache-Sitgreaves include the health and restoration of the watersheds, sustaining the Forest’s ecosystems, improving customer service in our recreation areas, reducing the dangers associated with wildfire in the urban interface, and maintaining the National Forest road system to desired standards.
Location: Springerville is located in Northeastern Arizona and was established in 1879 and sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet. The town was incorporated in 1948 along with its close neighbor town of Eager. Both communities reside in the Round Valley.
Cattle and sheep ranching were the principle economic activities during the early days of Springerville’s existence. That has been replaced today by tourism, agriculture, construction, forestry, and retail sales which support the 2,000 local residents and additional 9,000 residents that make up the trade area.
Springerville is located at the junction of US 60 and State Highways 180 and 191. Springerville is home to Casa Malpais, nationally recognized archeological ruins. Mild climate and proximity to a wealth of outdoor recreation year round makes Springerville a haven for recreational enthusiasts in Arizona and New Mexico.
The Apache and the Sitgreaves National Forests were administratively combined in 1974 and are now managed as one unit from the Forest Supervisor's Office in Springerville. The two million acre Forest encompasses magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains. The Apache-Sitgreaves has 34 lakes and reservoirs and more than 680 miles of rivers and streams - more than can be found in any other Southwestern National Forest. The White Mountains contain the headwaters of several Arizona Rivers including the Black, the Little Colorado, and the San Francisco.
The Sitgreaves was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850's. On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions for visitors from the hot valleys of Phoenix or Tucson are the Mogollon Rim and the string of man-made lakes. From the Rim's 7,600-foot elevation, vista points provide inspiring views of the low country to the south and west.
The Apache National Forest is named after the tribes that settled in this area. It ranges in elevation from 3500 feet near Clifton to nearly 11,500 feet on Mount Baldy. The congressionally proclaimed Mount Baldy, Escudilla, and Bear Wallow wildernesses and the Blue Range Primitive Area make the Apache one of America's premier backcountry Forests. The Apache is also noted for its trout streams and high-elevation lakes and meadows.
Additional Work Projects
Project Contacts and Resources
Rob Lever – Fire Management Officer (FMO)
Springerville Ranger District – Apache Sitgreaves National Forest
P.O. Box 760
Springerville, AZ 85938
Alma Leithead – Assistant Fire Management Officer (AFMO)
Springerville Ranger District – Apache Sitgreaves National Forest
P.O. Box 760
Springerville, AZ 85938
Apache-Sitgreaves Supervisor’s Office – Forest Supervisor
P.O. Box 640
Springerville, AZ 85938
Springerville Ranger District
P.O. Box 760 (mailing address)
165 S. Mountain Avenue (physical address)
Springerville, AZ 85938
SCA Plant and Fire Program Goals and Objectives
Environmental Stewardship: By the end of the program, members will be versed in common tactics that are necessary to appreciate the environment and have tools and information necessary to maintain their surrounding environment. Some of these tasks will be accomplished by:
• Leave No Trace (LNT)
• Regular instruction on environmental concerns, lead by each member.
Education and Outreach:
Leadership Development: During the course of the program, daily tasks will be placed into categories and assigned a title based on common wildland fire job titles. Members will rotate through these job assignments and be held responsible for completing the necessary tasks assigned to the that position for the entire day. These jobs will include:
• Squad Boss:
o Keep Time
o Conduct AAR
o Complete Daily Hitch Report
• Safety Officer:
o Carry and inspect first aid kit
o Inspect ERP
o Ensure Hydration and proper eating
o SCA protocols followed
• Engine Boss:
o Complete Daily Vehicle Logs
o Ensure loads are secured
o Ensure proper vehicle safety equipment
Onsite Trainings and Professional Development Opportunities
Crew members will have various onsite trainings and professional development opportunities in order to gain the skills necessary to successfully complete all assigned tasks while completing their program. These opportunities will also give crew members the opportunities to better understand the different aspects of wild land fire fighting within the US Forest Service.
Scheduled Onsite Training:
• S-212: Wildland Fire Chain Saws, S-212 is an instructor-led course intended to be presented at the local level. The course lessons provide introduction to the function, maintenance and use of internal combustion engine powered chain saws, and their tactical wildland fire application. Field exercises support entry level training for firefighters with little or no previous experience in operating a chain saw, providing hands-on cutting experience in surroundings similar to fireline situations.
• ATV: This class provides basic skills and information employees need so they can ride safely. This training involves a perfect mixture of actual trail riding and classroom education that ensures they will be able to navigate terrain appropriate for beginning ATV riders.
• Other training opportunities will involve exposure to various careers within the Forest Service.
Schedule Type: Currently the Apach-Sitgreaves crew is working on the 4 tens. This is defined as 4 days working ten hours a day. As the weather changes with the seasons the crew will transition to the 5 eights. This will be 5 days working eight hours a day.
Field Work Method:
Rainy Day Work Plan: For days that will prohibit work in the field members will complete various projects. These projects will include:
• Office Work: designed to keep members and crew up-to-date on required paperwork. This includes timesheets, website, and chase card coding.
• Tool Maintenance: Partnered with regular tool maintenance, rainy days will be used to completely rehab tools and provide instructional periods on various tool specifics.
• Onsite Trainings: Rainy days will give crew members the opportunity to have specific classroom training both from wild land fire fighters and various employees within the Forest Service in order to gain a better understanding of fire fighting as well as possible careers possible.
Admin Tasks Work Integration: Days will be worked into the schedule in order to complete required paperwork. This paperwork includes chase card coding, member timesheets, and website updates. These days will be worked into the regular work schedule as well as placed on stand-by in case of rainy days.
Season Calendar: See calendar for specific date information.
Hey, everyone. My name is Adric Shifley. I’m from Bucyrus Ohio. I am U.S. Army veteran. I spent three years on active duty and one as active reserve. I have completed two combat tours: one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. After I left the Army, I started college at Ohio University. I have completed just over two years of college and I am working on a fine arts major. Fighting wildland fire sounded exciting, so I jumped at the opportunity. I’m hoping to leave here with a Class-B sawyer certification, and any other marketable skills that present themselves.
My name is James Eckert. I was born in Newton, Massachusetts and raised in Derry, New Hampshire. I studied Wildlife Ecology at the University of New Hampshire. I was a soldier in the Army National Guard from 2003 – 2009 as a cannon crew member, and a high mobility artillery rocket system crew member. I love the outdoors, especially the beach, and every summer look forward to spending the weekends with my family near Cape Cod. I am very excited that the SCA chose me to be a part of the Veteran Fire Corps, because it will open many doors for me within the US Forest Service, and other federal agencies, and give me a great experience working with wildfire management.
My name is Bryan Ramsey. I’m a veteran with 13 years of service. I went to college after I got out of the Marine Corps. I went to school at Bowling State University and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies. So, I enjoy culture and languages but I also like art. My interests are such that a career was hard to choose because what I want in a career is to be outside; I want exciting, creative, and physical work. I found that the veteran’s fire corps was right for me. A year’s search paid off while I get to do something that I love and in the meantime hang out with likeminded veterans whom I have always admired. I hope to work as a wildland firefighter and become part of the elite Hot Shots and to use my skills to fight for my country in a different way.
Well hello, my name is Josh Kovacs and I’m part of the Apache-Site greaves veteran’s fire corp. When I’m home in Ohio I live with my beautiful wife and two children, I attend The Ohio State University, and when I work due to today’s economy I am a Criminal Investigator working in the private sector. When I was in the military I spent three years in the U.S. Air Force where I was a Crew Chief on the A-10 Thunderbolt II. I joined the SCA this year to enhance my skills in the Fire Field, in the future I would like to become a Fire Investigator either with a fire department or an Arson Investigator with a police department. With the experiences I’ve had so far and the friends I’ve made here I would recommend at least one tour with this organization.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I was adopted when I was three months old. I was raised on a farm outside of Harmony, Minnesota. After graduating from Fillmore Central High School I joined the United States Navy. I attended Naval Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC. I then attended Engineering Laboratory Technician school in Ballston Spa, NY. I was then stationed on the USS Alaska SSBN 732 in Bangor, WA. I then moved to Portsmouth, VA to conduct a nuclear refueling project. After my Naval service I moved back to Minnesota and attended college. I graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato with a B.S. in Biology. I joined the Veterans Fire Corps to gain valuable work experience with the US Forest Service. I hope to get a full-time position with the Forest Service when finished.
|Jeff Bowman -- Project Leader|
|Hitch Report 3: 10 Oct. -- 21 Oct. Rolling in the Deep|
|Hitch Report 2: 26 Sept. -- 7 Oct. Getting Our Hands Dirty.|
|Hitch Report 1: 12 Sept. -- 23 Sept. And We're Off................|