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!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


For the past two months to the day I have been trying to get the last three hours of work done to finish the Twitchell Canyon Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER). Today we got up there and finished it. The fire area is making a remarkable recovery. Much of the burned area is completely healed up and this is just the first growing season after the fire. It usually takes between three and five years to be as far along as this fire is.

This was a fun project start to finish but it HAS been a pain in the backside for the last two months waiting for the meadow to dry enough that it could hold the heavy equipment up. I am really glad that I got to do this project. I met some really good people and learned a lot of new things about rehabbing fires. Here are some pictures so you can decide if fire is good or bad yourself.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I went to Inklings family reunion today and had a pretty good time really. I enjoyed visiting with my brothers in law and watching the goings on at the reunion. I haven't been to a lot of these because they are always this time of year---and this time of year has always and still is fire season. The difference---for thirty years I traveled everywhere I went with a red fire bag. When, or if, I got called (and I got called every year), Inklings would drive me to the nearest airport and I would depart for whatever part of the United States that was burning.

I spent 25 years on a Type 1 (highest ranked) team and 5 years on a Type 2 team. During all that time I never missed a single fire call---nope not one. So now I am picking and choosing when and if I go to an assignment. I refuse to ever travel with the red bag again when I leave home for some family gathering or something else and if I want to go to the reunion I simply place myself unavailable.

I assure you that during that 30 year time frame I made a lot of really poor calls and went to the assignment rather than stay home and turn it down. I missed a lot of planned fishing trips and other family gatherings for those assignments. SO WHY DID I DO IT????

Everytime I was financially strapped or needed a big check to get mny kids back into school or to pay the Dr. visits or the braces or any of those other types of things, I ALWAYS HAD A FIRE CHECK COMING IN THE MAIL---ALWAYS.

I don't have those same kinds of needs now and when I choose to go out it is mainly to keep my fingers in the game. I love the job and have never really considered what it would be like to be completely out of it. I would surely miss all the great folks out there that protect all of the citizens of the U.S. from fire. THEY ARE A GREAT BUNCH TO KNOW AND WORK WITH.

Friday, July 15, 2011


On Wednesday we went North to a celebration of life for my friend that died last week. A CELEBRATION??? I told his spouse, who is also a friend, that I just couldn't do the celebration thing but that I'd keep my mourning to myself. WRONG---when I talked to their boys I cried when I told them to always remember who they were and never forget whose they were. It was tougher to talk to them than I thought it would be. I saw lots of people that I haven't seen for a while and did enjoy those visits.

There were a lot of his accomplishments talked about during the ceremony and it really made me think about how good of life he lived. I laughed when they said his boys told everyone that they were raised CATHERAN (or Lutheric) because their Dad was Catholic and their Mom was Lutheran. They attended the Lutheran Church there but my friend was always CATHOLIC---marked by the Nun's at Creyton Prep where he went to High School in Omaha, Nebraska.

On the way up to the celebration we hauled furniture to two of our daughters that has been stored in our house for a while now. It seems good to have it out and the space back available to do nothing with. We were nearly late for the ceremonies due to unloading the furniture but got there before anything much got started.

We tried to load up some other stuff for a daughter and haul it back to her but I just plain ran out of gas and had to bag that for the night. The next day we delivered it to her on our way home.

Had dinner with three of our kids and four of our grand kids so all in all it was an OK trip.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Last evening I was notified that one of my good friends from my entire Forest Service career had died from the cancer he so valiantly battled. It upset me pretty badly until I thought about his battle and how sick he has been for the past month. He was sleeping 22 hours a day and was on a pain pump so it should have been no surprise that he finally lost the battle. I have spent some time thinking about our friendship and decided to put it on here so I could come back and read it if I chose to.

In 1976 we worked on the same District in Montana. He was on the timber preparation crew and I worked on the silviculture side of things. Our paths crossed many times that year and we were friendly but never got to be really good friends. I moved on to another District in Montana and he moved on to another District in Idaho. We occasionally saw each other at training sessions and had some great visits about the OLD District.

In 1981 I moved to a District in Utah and he moved to a District in Utah. We were both responsible for recreation so our paths crossed a lot and we shared ideas on how to do things better. We had a great relationship and were friends but not really close friends. In 1997 he took a job as an assistant to the Director of the Olympics for the Forest Service and left his job on another District. I put in for that job and got it so followed him on a job. One thing I was always cautious about was picking who I followed. He left some pretty big shoes to fill as I knew he would but he still lived in the same town so I could easily contact him if I needed to.

He had left some pretty big partnership jobs unfinished and I had to figure out how to get everything done that he had started. We spent quite a bit of time together on these projects and he helped me get everything figured out and I was able to get the projects finished. They turned out great and the Forest got a National award for one of the projects. I refused to be the recipient of the award because I thought (and still do) that it should have been his award since he did all of the planning and getting all the partnership money rounded up. He refused to be the recipient of the award because he thought it should have been mine because I was the one that implemented it on the ground. There were many long discussions about this with high powered people and they were insistent that one of us agree to receive the award. We both still refused saying the other one should get it. As it turned out one of the designers of the project went to Washington D.C. and received it. SEE WE WERE BOTH HARD HEADED ENOUGH NOT TO BEND!

In 1986 we were on a fire together in the deep back country of Utah. It was really terribly hot and drinking water was at a premium. We had been working very hard for several hours and all of a sudden he went down. I ran over to see what was going on and he was hot and dry and really red. I got the crew to set up a sleeping cot and started pouring water all over him. I covered him with a light cloth and just kept pouring that water over him. He was miserable but we kept at it until we could move him to a hospital. When we got him to the hospital he was diagnosed as having a heat stroke. Our pouring the water on him had cooled his body temperature enough that he survived. His spouse did not let him come back to work for me in fire until 1997. He came back as my Supply Unit Leader and we had a great run for eight years.


Friday, July 8, 2011


The fire has an Area Command team and four Type 1 Fire Teams on it. That is an awful lot of elite firefighters directing the effort.
136,955 acres
6264 acre increase yesterday
40% contained (hasn't changed in a couple of days)
2276 people on it
55 (20 person) Crews
70 Engines
17 helicopters
95 structures have been lost to date.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I just got home from the Wallow fire in Arizona. It was the biggest fire in Arizona history (538,049 acres) and I really wanted to go it because I was on the team that put the Rodeo/Chedeski fire down back when it was the biggest fire in Arizona history. I was with California Team 3 and was not impressed a lot. Their operations section is top notch though. When I got to the fire camp I told the people working for me that we would be fighting fire hard for three days and then we would be trying to get everything out of camp.

It was really funny that the crew asked the IC if that was right---she kind of hum hawed and said if we are lucky that will be the case.

We were lucky and that is exactly what we did. While I was there I sent 7 semis with a trailer of 50 feet or more back to the cache. I tell everyone the only thing I did there was send 359 feet of semi trailer back to the cache.