Two More Chains


Two More Chains is dedicated to sharing information with all wildland firefighters. This Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center publication is produced four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). 


For story tips, questions, or comments, please contact: 
Paul Keller at 
prkeller@fs.fed.us, 503-622-4861.

 

 

 

Current Issue

Low Hanging Fruit. When it comes to unnecessary risk and exposure to heat, smoke, fatigue, and noise, could you be a “Bad Ass” or a “Dumb Ass”? Maybe it’s time you put a pinch of practical in your tactical pause. George Broyles, Fire and Fuels Project Leader for the U.S. Forest Service’s National Technology and Development Program, is helping us on this important front. George has explored how these four areas (“Heat, Smoke, Fatigue and Noise”) all conspire against wildland firefighters. “They are so common in our work environment, we may not even consider them hazardous,” George warns. Also in this issue, Ted Adams, Assistant Supervisor on the Hells Canyon Wildland Fire Module on the Payette National Forest, shares his passion and talks about his efforts behind bridging the gap between research and the field.

           

Spring 2017

Suicide in the Wildland Fire Service. What are the statistics on wildland firefighter suicide deaths? Why does such a negative stigma prevent discussing suicide in our business? What should we all know about suicide and suicide prevention? Answers to these significant questions—and more—are explored in this informative issue. Folks who have firsthand experience—and lessons—regarding suicide share their heartfelt stories. In addition, many of our wildland fire agencies’ subject matter experts in this field share their insights in a separate companion report.

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         Cover of Two More Chains

Winter 2017

“Student of Fire.” What does this term really mean? Travis Dotson explores what Paul Gleason might have intended when Gleason coined this term. In doing so, Travis challenges us to reflect and improve in all of our endeavors and provides us tips on how to best contribute to an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Bre Orcasitas continues the conversation in this issue’s One of Our Own section. And we also provide the latest lessons on the hazards of fuel geysers, including direct access to the new “Fuel Geyser Reporting Form” on our Shop Talk page.

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Fall 2016

In this issue we explore the intent of—and response to—Mark Smith’s essay “The Big Lie.” Smith shares why he wrote this provocative piece and what he believes our next steps should be. Veteran wildland firefighter and current AFMO Dave Williams continues “The Big Lie” discussion in the “One of Our Own” feature. Likewise, former McCall Smokejumper Matt Carroll continues the discussion from our last Two More Chains in his “In Defense of Bias” article. And Travis Dotson responds to a reader who found great fault in his “Ground Truths” column in our Summer Issue.

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 Summer 2016

In this issue we provide an opportunity for two firefighters to share their experiences with things we don’t talk much about: gender and leadership as well as bias and diversity. In the cover story, Rachel Reimer, an Initial Attack Crew Leader in British Columbia, Canada, ties together gender, leadership and vulnerability.

Sara Brown draws upon her diverse fire experience as a hotshot, helitack crewmember, smokejumper and fire ecologist to discuss diversity, bias and gender in our “One of Our Own” feature.

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 Spring 2016

Ready to tip some sacred cows? This issue’s cover story examines and explores the “Illusion of Control” concept—how the assumption that complete control of our safety in the wildland fire environment is possible might be a significant misconception.

In our “One of Our Own” feature, we introduce you to Jeremy Bailey and his quest to promote and build a prescribed fire workforce. We also introduce you to the four individuals who recently received the 2015 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award.

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Winter 2016

The theme of our special 20th Anniversary Issue focuses on how we need to widen the definition of “survivor” of traumatic fire line accidents. We share the stories, insights, and lessons of four survivors of a line of duty wildland firefighter death. In doing so, we explore the concept of the “Bull’s Eye” and how the farther you get from the Bull’s Eye, the less personal the event is, the less real it is. While this issue is dedicated to acknowledging the voice and vital perspectives of all survivors, its overall intent is to underscore the simple truth that this could all happen to you.

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Fall 2015 

This issue spotlights the key question: Do More Incident Reports Mean More Learning? The issue’s underlying theme: How do we advance from a “Reporting Culture” to a “Learning Culture”? McCall Smokejumper Ramona Beyuka provides her insights on what learning looks like.

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Summer 2015

This issue explores the US and THEM mindset. It reminds us that bad things happen to good people all the time. It explains how and why we should do away with “Us” and “Them” and use “We”. In our One of Our Own feature, Bryan Scholz continues this theme by explaining his “Human Topography” insights—how the nature of our work is being thrown into high-risk situations with strangers.

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Spring 2015

Our cover story “Risk, Gain, and Loss: What are We Willing to Accept?” explores several key questions, including: “Do we have acceptable losses in wildfire?” In our One of Our Own feature, hotshot captain Alanna English answers the question: “Have you ever had a ‘dumb’ fire assignment?”


 

 Winter 2015

Our cover story “Same as It Ever Was” explores how our traditional solution of ordering “more stuff” doesn't really work. A new approach—that confronts the hard question “Is ‘safe’ even possible?”—is proposed.

 

   Fall 2014

Is the Wildland Fire Service learning? In this issue we tackle the hard question: Does any of this stuff work—are lessons actually learned?  What do you think?
 Cover of Summer 2014 Two More Chains

Summer 2014 


One thing we can all do to prepare for our time on the line is physical training—PT. Does your PT program prepare you for your job? Are you susceptible to injury? Do you know the risks and dangers associated with PT? Check out this issue for all kinds of good info on physical training—and much more!



 

Cover of spring 2014 Issue of Two More Chains   Spring 2014

When the smoke is churning and we're slamming line, the physical location of the Lunch Spot often coincides with a decision point. It's commonly a spot offering a safe place to take a tactical pause. It might not always take place while the crew is eating, but the decisions made in those moments can literally determine life and death.

 


   Winter 2014

“What’s Up with Incident Reviews?” Today it seems we have incident reviews for everything—with more incident reviews and types of reviews than ever before. In this issue, we try to peel back the layers for what “officially” guides these reviews—including the differences in reviews—including philosophies—between agencies. Our “Shop Talk” highlights Rapid Lesson Sharing—how you can now quickly share your lessons with the field.


 Cover of Two More Chains Fall 2013 Fall 2013

“AARs—Why Do We Do Them?”, the theme of this issue, explores the various ways your standard AAR can be retooled to achieve more effective and beneficial results. A variety of tips and insights on how to hone your AARs are provided. AAR alternatives are also explored. Case in point: Craig Cunningham and Ruby Mountain Hotshots’ “PLOWS” AAR adaptation. Check it out!


 Two More Chains Summer 2013 Cover Summer 2013

A special tribute to the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Cover of Two More Chains Spring 2013 Issue 

 Spring 2013   


This issue’s cover story—“TRAINING: What Does It Mean?”—takes a closer look at how we might want to redefine or reimagine what  “training” means to us. Bottom Line: Training shouldn’t be limited to the classroom. We all like to learn—what are you doing to make it happen? Tying directly into this “hands-on” theme, the One of Our Own section tells the story of how Palomar Hotshot Brandon Opliger helped his crew produce a seven-minute video on “Leadership in Motion.” In his Ground Truths page, Travis Dotson explains how you might already be leading without even knowing it. The Shop Talk page asks: “Do You Drill?”

Cover of Two More Chains Winter 2013

 Winter 2013   


“Taking Care of Our Own” is the theme of this issue that takes a deeper look into what this concept truly means. Included in this issue: the compelling “journey to recovery” story shared by South Canyon Fire survivor Kim Lightley and insights from Ahtanum IA Crew Supervisor Ben Goble, who lost two of his crew members last September in a motor vehicle accident. How the Union Hotshots responded to an “unacceptable situation” and lent a fellow firefighter a hand is also featured. “What’s in Your Crew Boss Kit?” is the focus of our Shop Talk page—designed to help folks be better prepared for traumatic events, including references for helping these event’s survivors. In his Ground Truths column, Travis Dotson asks: “How Do We Know This Job is Dangerous?”

 
 Fall 2012     

Wheels, Wings, and Rotors. Getting there and getting back. It’s our most dangerous activity. How come? This issue takes a deeper look into why firefighters keep getting injured and killed in driving and flying accidents. Included in this issue: a firsthand driving accident account from the crew of Engine 713; and a good tip—with a “show me” video link—on how to remove that rock stuck between your dual tires. In his Ground Truths column, Travis Dotson explores why we need to be careful of what we ask people to do—because they will do it.

 Cover of Two More Chains Summer 2012

 Summer 2012    


This issue focuses on firing operations. What does a good firing show look like? And, what could go wrong? If you've ever heard: "Hustle up, the window is closing!" you'll want to check out Travis Dotson's "Ground Truths" page. Our "Shop Talk"page provides you an interactive Tactical Decision Game firing operation scenario. Alex Viktora, with his wealth of firing operations experience, is featured in our "One of Our Own" section.

 Cover of Two More Chains Spring 2012

 Spring 2012     


“Initial Attack – We’re Doing a Good Job, But . . .” this issue’s cover story, explores the challenges and risks—potential pitfalls—that might await you on your next IA assignment. Travis Dotson’s “Ground Truths” delves into why we love IA, as well as its associated dangers and opportunities. Also in this issue: videos that share Initial Attack lessons; nozzle tips; Tim Woody—a veteran firefighter with extended east and west coast wildland fire experience—shares his spot-on IA insights; and the annual 2011 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award recipients. 

Cover of Two More Chains Winter 2012   Winter 2012


“Prescribed Fire Escapes: Are We Learning Anything?”
this issue’s cover story, explores whether or not we’re actually learning from our escapes—and how we can help to ensure that we are. Also in this issue: two burn bosses share their key lessons and hard-earned insights; plus drip torch tips.


 Cover of Two More Chains Fall 2011

Fall 2011            

“Your Fire Shelter: Would You Hesitate Deploying It? this issue’s cover story, focuses on wildland firefighters’ reluctance to use their fire shelters. Why does this happen? What can we do about this fire shelter “stigma”? Also in this issue: firefighter Brian Hicks shares key lessons learned from his 2011 entrapment experience; tips for calling in your position—using Lat/Longs correctly; and readers are asked: “Do you fight fire like you drive?”
   

 

 Cover of Two More Chains Summer 2011

Summer 2011  

“If a Tree Falls in the Forest . . .” this issue’s cover story, focuses on the threat of trees—or pieces of them—falling on wildland firefighters and actions that can be taken to reduce this risk. Also in this issue: Why you should read accident reports; Chainsaw troubleshooting tips; and the remarkable story of Krstofer Evans, the Plumas Hotshot sawyer who was paralyzed when a fire snag fell on him during a Kentucky arson fire.

 Cover of Two More Chains Spring 2011

Spring 2011    

This first issue of Two More Chains features insights into emergency medical evacuation procedures, including a review of the related Dutch Creek protocol and procedures—and a memorial tribute to firefighter Andy Palmer. Readers are also provided a firsthand account from a wildland firefighter, a certified Wilderness EMT, who was involved in the emergency medivac of a fellow firefighter hit by a 400-pound boulder. Handheld radio tips and a new sticker insert for your IRPG are also featured.