Friday, July 28, 2006

What the Firefighters are Saying About Burns

I was directed to this site by an anonymous poster. It is an active forum for wildland fire fighters. Here are some snips from what they have to say.

How ironic; having a Senator named "Burns" criticizing fire crews. If
ranchers can handle the job ... fine with me. We'd be glad to have
our son home safely. (like most everyone).

Disgusting and disgraceful attack on brothers and sisters in the wildland
fire community. Montana will forever be etched in my mind by the acid
spewed by this politician.............

Re Conrad Burns:

What would one expect from a Senator who's previous job before the
Senate was the Ag. Reporter on a Montana Television Network.

Toss the Bum out. He embarrasses Montana.

Next to his bad manners and arrogance what I find appalling is his apparent lack of knowledge of the wildland fire management, and how things work during fire busts. If he represented a state with limited wildfire activity, I could cut him some slack. However, as everyone in the fire community knows all too well, Montana has been on top of the heap for fire activity for many years, too often since 2000. It is incomprehensive to me that a US Senator from the State of Montana, if the media reports are correct, has such a limited understanding of wildland firefighting systems and processes. What sent up a special red flag about his fire management knowledge was his alleged remark that the fires were run out of NIFC.

Why should Burns comment to hotshots except to say "THANK YOU VERY MUCH"? What do hotshots have to do with the management-strategy-tactics of a very large Montana fire? Fire Teams commanded by ICs do the professional large-scale planning. Hotshots deal with their assigned piece of ground - AND THEY DO IT VERY WELL. They're our much-needed "boots and Pulaski's on the fire ground".

Military Analogy: It would be like the Senator Burns waylaying some homeward-bound Green Berets, Rangers or Seals in an airport after their long, wearing tour of war duty to tell them they should have found a civilian who was not in their chain-of-command and taken orders from him or her. I think not.

The old firefighter in me says, "A verbal blindside delivered by a Senator (or anyone else who should know better) against some of our own, deserves an inbox overflowing with the logical consequences..."

Maybe this is how you want people to think of your state, but I doubt it.


Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Burn's didn't just criticize operations, he said the firefighters were lazy and overpaid.

Really sad- I remember when my home burned down, feeling nothing but gratitude for the firefighters who came to my family's rescue.

Shane C. Mason said...

That's exactly right. He said some really bad stuff to those guys. Montana is a state that owes a lot to its firefighters. They save countless lives and billions of dollars EACH AND EVERY YEAR. Most of us are thankful for them.

Melissa In Northern VA said...

Thank You Shane for posting this. We here in VA are very proud of the Hotshots. They have saved our beloved GW National forrest and they stand up and risk their lives to save life, limb and property. Please, convince your fellow Montanans to remove Burns from DC. We have enough garbage to deal here with including our own Sen. George Allen, who is, I believe, even more stupid than George Bush. We Virginians are doing everything we can to get rid of both of these morons!

Shane C. Mason said...


Your welcome. We should have a dumb senator contest sometime! The problem is that Pennsyvania will bring Rick Santorum, then the fun would really be on.

We appreciate your hotshots as well as our own. We really are doing everything that we can to get rid of Burn's. It looks we are doing such a good job that he has even joined our side in helping us to unseat him.

jkkmmck said...

I fought fire for two seasons in Hell's Canyon, on the Oregon-Idaho border, and I've never seen anyone work harder than Hotshots. I'm talking about superhuman feats of endurance. We regular joes were keeping our shovels and axes moving for 12 hour shifts -- they were doing the same at a jog. If you see a Hotshot taking a break -- they deserve it more than you can know. The man is clearly an ass.

Lynch said...

My crew was out at the same time and in the same area as those hotshots. The story didn't mention that It was probably above 100 degrees. Personally, I always feel better when there is a shot crew around. We bust our a**es everywhere we go. And still the shot crews run circles around us. If they WERE taking a break, there is no doubt in my mind that they earned it.