As I sit here in Downtown Fresno listening to the scanner and the HT, monitoring every imaginable fire frequency used in the Central San Joaquin Valley, I look up and see the pall of smoke from the Canyon Fire stretching from the northern horizon around to the west, and finally dispersing slightly overhead. I hear on the broadcast radio that the Canyon Fire has
gone to 24k acres in just 4 days, and the PIO says there's no end in sight due to the "steep terrain, erratic winds, and lack of resources". I remember William LaJeunesse on Fox News last night with smoke and glow from the Sawtooth Complex talking about basically the same thing. I read the morning report, and see that over 2600 people are on the Sawtooth, Millard and Canyon incidents.
Then I begin to wonder: Why haven't I heard the OES equipment being staffed and assembled into strike teams from MAR V? Why haven't I been called to see if I'm available to go out on a strike team assignment (not that is matters, 'cause I'm not)? What about all the other full-time and paid-call firefighters that are available to work? Why is there a "staffing problem" when there are plenty of firefighters that can be called back to work to staff reserve equipment to form up local government strike teams to go to the fires?
Another peeve of mine is that overhead positions that could be filled by qualified volunteers and paid-call staff are going UTF (Unable to Fill) because of the firefighters' unions bitching about it. I'm a CSFA member, just like they are; I get paid by the state, just like the rest of CDF does.
Why should needed positions go unfilled at all, when there are plenty of qualified people available in the Paid-Call and Volunteer ranks? Why can't we even get the training we want to even get us available to be trainees?