Some say the world will end with fire.

Others say with ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those that favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate,

To say that for destruction ice,

Is also great and would suffice.

Robert Frost


"Good things come to those who wait, but, only the things LEFT by those who hustle." - Unknown (at least by me)

"Life is wonderful, without it you are dead." - Hy "Pete" Peterson - Park City and Kenecott Miner

"Don't worry about those people in your past---there is a reason they are not in your present." - Unknown

"Life's tough - it's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!" - Vince Lombardi

"If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much space.” ~ Attributed to Jim Whittaker by Doug ‘Swani’ Swantner, Alaska Smokejumper and Air Attack Base Manager (Ret.)

About Me

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I am married and have seven children and twenty grandchildren. I retired January 1, 2010 after working 39+ years for the Forest Service...NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE HAS BEGUN!

Friday, October 29, 2010


I have blogged about flying seed onto the burned areas and there was a question or comment about it, so this picture shows the seed being flown on---look closely at the bottom of the plane toward the tail and you can see the seed being blown out of the seeder. Look at the left wing tip by the cliff to see how awesome these pilots are.

1600 pounds of seed is flown on with each takeoff. It is loaded from 50 pound bags into a big loading bag that is lifted by a big machine and the seed loaded into the front of the plane. The above picture shows this process.

Mulching entails loading wheat straw bales into a cargo net with a large piece of equipment then the bales are flown to the area requiring mulch and the straw is dropped from the net---only half of the net releases and the big bales of straw hit the ground and the straw is spread across the site by the force of the bales hitting the ground.

This will give you an idea of what I will be up to for the next little while. It is an awesome job---glad I get to do it. ;-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This month has been our time to get things fixed.

I went to the Dentist and had no cavities but he thinks I need my wisdom teeth out. I told him they took one out and broke my jaw---why would I let you take the other three? He said "well I guess we will wait and see what happens with them." I said "YUP!" They polished all the silver and gold (tooth caps) and sent me on my way for six months. Yeah it will be a year before I go back but he can think what he wants.

I went to the Doctor for a check-up. He reduced my inhaler prescription by half, added a prescription nasal spray (that does more to stop the cough than anything I have ever had), and after further blood tests doubled my prescription for cholesterol medicine. I really don't understand what he is doing with that but the prescription I was previously on has reduced my cholesterol to 164. Reading through the notes on the blood test they are trying to get my LDL down to 100. Why to that level? I have no clue but the notes say that is the ultimate for people with chronic heart problems. I have no symptoms of chronic heart problems. The previous prescription got it half way there so I guess I will do what he wants for two months when they check it again.

I haven't been real good in my life to go see the doctor on a regular basis, partially because I really didn't think the doctors I had were at all concerned about my health. I have said before that this doctor seems to really be interested in what is going on with me and he's been practicing pretty hard to fix the things that are wrong with me health wise. It is pretty nice to have a doctor I trust and think is doing what is necessary to make me better. TIME WILL TELL

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Well I worked Friday, Monday most of the day and today for five hours. In that time I have sorted out the work to be accomplished, who would be the best person or group to do the work, when they should be doing it and have basically delegated them to do the work. Two of the jobs, reseeding and mulching, will be my responsibility. Both of these jobs will be done using aircraft and it should go pretty quickly. Time will tell on that, but I will work two hours tomorrow and then won't work again until the seed starts to arrive for mixing.

There will be five separate seed mixes that will be flown onto different areas of the fire based on historic moisture regimes on the areas. The tracking of which seed mix went to which site will be a nightmare but I think I can make it through that. I said earlier that there were a lot of moving parts to this rehabilitation plan and there are going to be a lot of things going at the same time. I will get to work on many of them but won't get to spend as much time as I wanted to on each one.

There are 75 days programmed for me to do what I need to do. With the way the delegations went today I will probably only use 1/2 to 2/3 of the days that are set up. Looks like I have nearly delegated myself out of a job. ;-)

Monday, October 25, 2010


Today we buried my friend and the Sheriff of our County. There were many, many police officers there to mourn his passing. He served as a City Police Officer, a Highway Patrol Officer and as our Sheriff for 12 years.

The hearse carrying his body was escorted by these motor cycles and their officers and an unknown (but a whole lot) of patrol officers in their cars with the lights flashing. We never got where we could get a good picture of the whole line of the cars.

He was honored by the Utah Highway Patrol honor guard and bagpipe officers. He was given a very impressive 21 gun salute. The bagpipes played and brought many tears to my eyes.

This is not a good shot of the helicopter but the Utah Highway Patrol helicopter flew by and gave a final salute to him. This was all very impressive to have happen at a small community cemetary.

Near the end the honor guard folded the flag that was on his coffin and presented it to our Sheriff elect who saluted and then presented it to his wife. At the very end our dispatch center made a final radio call and read a eulogy over the radio to him. There were handheld radios on many of the officer's duty belts and this final call was very impressive. It is tough to see a good friend go on to greener pastures.

Now for a funny story about him. I met with him and the County Commissioners to discuss what I intended to do with the lightning fires that started on the district that year. I told them I was going to manage any lightning caused fire that occurred on the district that wasn't a serious threat to life or property. I told them what that meant, letting fires burn naturally, and taking control action only when they passed predetermined map points.

We discussed this for quite a while and he finally said "You are not going to do this in my county." I said "Yes, I intend to do it on the entire district and part of the district is in your county." He said "If you do I will arrest you and take you to jail." I told him "Fair enough warning."

A few weeks later I called him on the phone and said "This is Dee Ice Hole and I think you may want to come and get me and take me to jail. I have just decided to manage a fire about 3 miles east of the town where you live so thought you might want to make the arrest yourself." He laughed and said "Why don't you come and get me and we'll go look at your fire together so that I understand what you are doing."

I did and we spent a couple of hours discussing fire and fire suppression then I took him home. From that day forward he supported me in everything I did with fire---even when the chips were down and I was thinking I was in serious trouble because of my decision he was there to support me along with the Seriff from the adjoining County. We had to do an evacuation one afternoon because a management fire got within about 100 yards of six summer homes. Both Sheriff's showed up with enough Deputies to take care of anything that could have occurred. We held the evacuation the entire afternoon while the fire burned hot and threateningly nearby. We let the people stay at a junction about a mile from their homes. As the sun went down and the fire began to die down we discussed it and decided we could let the people back in to their homes with the understanding that if the fire came back up the next day they would have to leave again. The fire didn't come back up and I gained another dozen tremendous supporters of management fires.

AND quite frankly that is where the quote "I'D RATHER BE LUCKY THAN GOOD" came from. I later added to the quote saying "THE ONLY THING BETTER THAN THAT IS BEING CONSISTENTLY LUCKY." AND I was. But remember Gary Player said "The harder I work the luckier I get." You decide.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I was asked a couple of days ago if I would be interested in being the implementation leader for the Burned Area Emergency Rehab (BAER) for the Twitchell Canyon fire. I went into the office to discuss the possibility today. Spent most of the morning reviewing and recommending a few changes to a contract and started into the report made to request the money to do the rehab. The changed contract has been submitted for contracting and I have agreed to take the lead in implementation. Included in this package is the BAER for the Coffee Pot fire on the Manti-LaSal that I was on a few weeks ago as part of the team managing it. It is only two small areas totaling 35 acres there.

It really made me feel good to have them ask me to help with this. It is a project funded for about $5.5 million that will mostly be done in the next two or three months. Lots of things are going to be going on (mostly monitoring flying seed and mulch onto the burned area) for me when the contract gets awarded.

Looking forward to the challenge and to the work. It will be nice to know that the fires have been properly put to bed too. AND...It's nice to be the one that makes that call.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Yesterday they were able to remove the 33 Chilean miners trapped below ground for 69 days and the six rescue workers that went down to help prepare and load them. This has been an ongoing situation that has given me the heebee jeebee's everytime I have watched anything to do with it.

Yesterday I spent most of the day glued to the TV watching as they pulled them out one by one until about 9:30 they pulled the last rescuer out. Every time the Phoenix 2 started the upward ascent my insides would turn over and tie up---guess I was never cut out to be in tight places.

This was a great accomplishment in the history of mining---never before have miners survived that long. The Chilean President put all of his political cards on the table for this rescue---all I can say is---WELL DONE!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I have been reflecting on my life for the past couple of hours. Today I retired for the second time---this time for Social Security with 48 quarters of compensable time. That is 12 years working---I retired from the Forest Service with 39 years and a couple of days working. That means I spent 51 years of my life working. I am 62 years old today so that means I started working full time when I was 11 years old. That isn't quite true---I started at 9 and took a few quarters off while I was unemployed and/or going to college. So quite frankly I couldn't remember a time in my life when I wasn't working until I retired from the FS. I was pretty worried that I wouldn't know what to do with myself in retirement. Well maybe I still don't know what to do but for sure I am enjoying not being tied to a job any more. I miss the heck out of the association with the people I worked with though.

I loved going on the fires I went to this past year but I didn't have to go---it was my choice whether I went or not. There is a great amount of freedom and enjoyment just in the fact that it was truly a choice. It pays me pretty well to go on the fires but only about 1/3 of what I got paid a year ago (when I was working for the FS) to do the same job. I have determined that I do fire for the adrenaline fix I get out of going and that I get to associate with some great people while I am doing it.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I was on the mountain yesterday and the leaves were mostly there but around 2:30 the wind started blowing hard and the leaves were falling pretty fast. Took Inklings up today to see them and they are mostly gone---so now I need a new excuse to take an afternoon ride.

We actually had snow on both sides of us where this picture was taken---in one spot the snow came all the way down to the road.

This dude had a mouse in the tree and was way too hungry to fly just because a truck with a blaring radio stopped. He didn't even consider leaving the mouse.


We haven't seen the mountains to the south for several weeks---either due to smoke or due to rain clouds settled way down on the mountain. When the clouds finally lifted there was snow to about the 8500 foot level. WINTER'S COMIN'. It ain't here yet but it is comin'!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Went to the New Year party for the FS here today---for you that aren't feds October 1 starts the fiscal year for the feds---hence New Year. This is a pretty neat party where the forest celebrates the accomplishments of the old year and gives out the safety awards for the year just ending. They also celebrate the accomplishments they made in the last year and discuss some of the things that are going to happen in the next year. I started this celebration a couple of years ago and hope it turns into a yearly tradition.

I got invited by the Forest Supervisor to attend since I was the one that started it earlier---at least that is what I thought---at the end of the day he presented me with a Legacy In Fire Management award from the national office in recognition of my efforts in fire throughout my career. It was neat to be recognized even if it was 10 months post mortem. I think it is a vey nice award.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


It has been raining pretty hard the last two days and the Twitchell Canyon fire is looking way sick. There is no visible smoke anywhere that we can see. But remember it has been this way twice before. I'm tellin' ya rain doesn't necessarily put fires out. I told everyone before that it wasn't out and I'll tell you again it isn't out---not yet---it'll take a lot more rain than this to finish it off. BUT it is for sure not going anywhere in the near future. It will sit and smoulder for a while and if it turns hot and dry it will burn again....if it continues to storm it'll give it up and go out....time'll tell.


Saturday, October 2, 2010


I got home from my little fire the evening of the 29th so spent all day the 30th kind of resting up and cleaning up my gear to get ready for the next go round. The gear is clean but not packed yet but that will be easy when I get around to it. Yesterday we went for a little ride to look at the leaves on the mountain. They were beautiful but have changed rapidly and will fall soon so if you wanna look do it quick.

Today is our 41st anniversary---Where did the time go????

At the end of the trip we stopped by my Mother's old house to see how the construction is going on it---it'll look pretty much the same but the inside will be quite a lot different.