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, 503-622-4861.


Current Issue:

What It Means, How to Recognize It, Why It's Important

This issue of Two More Chains explores the second pillar of learning – Opportunity. Opportunity to learn exists in just about everything we do and may hide in unexpected scenarios, like tragedy and failure. As you read, ponder how you will make the most out of the learning opportunities you encounter. 



Spring 2022

This issue of Two More Chains explores how we are all both teachers and students in the wildland fire service. Learning occurs on the fireline, at the station, on the road, and during off-duty activities. What are you teaching and what are you learning?

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Winter 2022

Let the Learning Begin

In this issue we share key lessons from last year through personal accounts and unique perspectives—straight from the field. We also hear from two fire folks who have taken the initiative to weave these real-life incident lessons into their training program. We like hearing about people who use the lessons. We hope you are also inspired to do so

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Fall 2021 

Work/Life Balance

Navigating “work/life” balance is complex and personal. This issue of Two More Chains provides perspective and insight on the difficulty of accessing harmony with fire in our lives.

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Summer 2021 

Stories- Why We Need Them
This issue explores how stories and storytelling are so valuable to our wildland fire culture. Kip Gray also shares how stories help him learn. Kip was with the Prineville Hotshots that day in July 1994 when the South Canyon Fire claimed 14 lives. “We need to keep telling the stories,” Kip says, “for those who didn’t survive."

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Spring 2021

The Work Never Ends

Our ten-year anniversary issue reflects back on what we’ve done and looks forward to where we’re headed. It includes the benefits and lessons of zooming out in a thoughtful retrospective on China’s 1987 Black Dragon Fire. In our “One of Our Own” feature, Anna Graves, Assistant Engine Module Leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provides her insights on resiliency, innovation, and much more.

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Cover of Fall 2020 Issue of Two More Chains

Winter 2021

What 2020 Taught Us

Last year the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center received a total of 160 learning-related documents from the field packed full of lessons. This issue focuses on these lessons. Here’s your opportunity. Let’s commit to learning from them.

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Fall 2020

2020 - Where Do We Go From Here?

This issue asks us all to reflect on the 2020 fire year and make a conscious decision about what innovations to maintain. Let's take stock of how we have advanced and how we can avoid regression.

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Summer 2020

A True Story of Survival – This is How We Grow

The centerpiece of this issue is Curtis Heaton’s amazing story of survival when he comes face-to-face with death on the MacKenzie Fire. As Travis Dotson explains in the issue’s introduction: “Permit Curtis’ story to trigger emotion that leads to action. This is how we grow.” Continuing with this realities of risk theme, in his “Ground Truth’s” column Travis explores the consequences and ramifications of LCES: No matter what you do, risk remains. Let’s continue to move toward improving risk assessment and adjusting what types of exposure we accept and why.”

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Spring 2020 

On the Confluence of Wildland Fire and COVID-19

This issue of Two More Chains acknowledges the unprecedented challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. We focus on the positive aspects of our community that will help us orient and navigate through this hardship. In the “One of Our Own” feature, new Supervisory Fire Engine Operator Alex Plascencia discusses what’s prepared him for leading in this unparalleled COVID-19 fire season.

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Cover of Winter 2020 Two More Chains
Winter 2020 

Nuts and Bolts – Again

We provide the nuts and bolts on real-deal incidents that translate into actions you can take—on everything from ash pit burn injuries to chainsaw cuts. Our “One of Our Own” feature focuses on Brian Kliesen and his “Stop the Bleed” training insights. And if you want to know what’s on the minds of LLC staff members, check out their incident report “Staff Picks”.

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Fall 2019

Where’s Your Head At?
This issue of Two More Chains is about helmets. Our heads matter. Are we doing enough to save our skulls? We also share wildland firefighter Kevin Reese’s hit-by-a-tree story. First the tree tries to kill him—then the bureaucratic aftermath does the same.

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Summer 2019

Our Standardization Struggle

We love standards. We hate standards. What’s going on here? Plus, a comprehensive look into the rappel community’s lifesaving standardization.

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Spring 2019

Are We Making Positive Growth in the Wildland Fire Service?  

This issue makes a case for how and why we are.

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Winter 2019

The View From Here

Introducing the new LLC publication “The View from Here”—16 essays that share a common theme: How and why we must alter some of our most ingrained practices and perspectives.

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Fall  2018

Traumatic Transitions

How to cope and navigate through changes and their associated dangers. Brit Rosso, outgoing Director of the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center, shares his firsthand insights into how to prepare yourself for moving through difficult transitions.

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Summer  2018

Is there Trauma in Dispatch? In this issue, four Dispatchers and one fire manager, a former Dispatch Center Manager, answer and explore this significant question.

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Cover of the Winter, 2018 Issue of Two More Chains

Spring  2018

This issue focuses on the “Bad Apple Theory” and provides related insights into Paul Gleason and the Cerro Grande Fire. A Podcast and 3 Blog Posts are essential elements of this Two More Chains.

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Cover of the Winter 2018 Issue of Two More Chains

Winter 2018

We provide the nuts and bolts on real-deal incidents that translate into actions you can take.

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Fall 2017 

Why Identity Matters.
What happens when you are “all in” in your wildland fire service job and you suddenly get the boot—whether through mandatory retirement, freak accident, family demands, or any other “involuntary separation”? “Why Identity Matters” is the focus of this issue. Page 1 provides links to a Podcast and Blog Post that are essential elements to our multifaceted look at this complex issue. In addition, we realized that we needed to talk to Wally Ochoa and share his remarkable story. Wally, Lead Sawyer on the Winema Interagency Hotshot Crew, received a career-ending injury on the 2014 Freezeout Ridge Fire. As you read about Wally’s ordeal, ask yourself hard questions about who you are, what you do, what risks you take—and what those risks are worth. In Travis Dotson’s “Ground Truths” he explores this “Identity” theme by asking: “What if we momentarily viewed wildland fire and all that comes with it as a drug?”

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Summer 2017

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.

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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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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. Dave Calkin, a research economist, give's us his "view from outside the zoo" as One of Our Own. 


   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?
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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.