Monday, August 29, 2016

IGNITE: Behavior Matters

Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that earns you respect. –Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge (Sun rays  coming through the smoke with firefighters looking on)
Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that earns you respect. – Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge

[Photo credit: Thanks, Tatanka IHC, for being our partner to IGNITE the Spark for Leadership!]

Saturday, August 27, 2016

An Hour and a Half in a Shelter

Trees are torching. Saws are buzzing. Dirt is flying. Your division is working hard. Seems like a typical day until your entire division of 118 people becomes surrounded by wildfire. Seventy three (73) deploy their fire shelters and ...

This event was a reality for firefighters on the Butte fire on August 29, 1985. Take a moment to review the events of that fateful day and create a slide for future reference.

More information on the Butte fire shelter deployment:

Friday, August 26, 2016

L-580 Strategic Leader Program - San Diego County Megafires: An All-Hazards Interactive Case Study

Chief (retired) Kelly Zombro briefing L-580 participants at the San Diego Country Estates, California
Participants should be senior incident managers, senior leaders of emergency response agencies, public utilities and other critical infrastructure; leaders in the agency administrator role, elected officials and appointees who would likely be involved in setting the strategic direction of a large scale event.
Historical Firestorm events in the San Diego region have been on unprecedented, fast moving scales of complexity. The scope of the Political, Security, Economic, Social, Infrastructure and Information (PSESII) dimensions have presented huge challenges to incident and emergency managers.
The overall end state is a rich learning experience where participants return to their organizations with new experiences, knowledge and tools, better prepared for complex incidents of the future. Specific objectives include:
• The ability to apply critical thinking to planning at the strategic level beyond what ICS processes offer now.
• The ability to respond, anticipate, plan and execute within the PSESII dimensions of the incident while setting conditions for operational and tactical success.
• The ability to establish highly effective incident response structures using decentralized command and control models and intent based operations.
Hosted at the Barona Resort and Casino, Lakeside, CA, November 7-8-9, 2016.
• Sunday, November 6th – Check-In starts in the afternoon for those staying at the hotel

• Monday, November 7th – Program starts at 8 a.m. Presentations on leading strategic response to large scale disasters

• Tuesday, November 8th – Facilitated site visits with 2003 Cedar Fire Decision Makers, evening social with Sandra Millers Younger, author of “The Fire Outside My Window”

• Wednesday, November 9th – Hands on earthquake/tsunami scenario & exercise to apply new tools, finishing up at noon

Tuition is $1250 and Monday lunch; Tuesday breakfast, lunch and dinner; and Wednesday breakfast are provided. Barona is also offering a discounted hotel rate.
Sponsors: San Diego Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Regional Disaster Fund Board, San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Motorola Solutions, Inc., U.S. Forest Service, Barona Band of Mission Indians, Wawanesa Insurance, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, Barona Fire Department, Seattle Fire Department, San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, National Wildfire Coordinating Group, International Association of Fire Chiefs
Registration: The course is limited to 40 participants. Please send initial RSVP by registering through the IAFC Academy Inquiries can be sent to for assistance.
L-580 is currently the highest level leader development requirement in the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) “L” Series Curriculum. Participants completing the program will be awarded an NWCG Certificate for L-580: Leadership is Action. Program presented by Mission-Centered Solutions, Inc.

[For those managed by a federal Geographic Area Training Representative, you would submit your request to your GATR to be managed under the national L-580 priority list.]

Can We Talk?

(Photo credit: Thinkstock/
[This article is a joint effort between Firehouse magazine and the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program to promote firefighter health and wellness. We hope all firefighters, regardless of volunteer, structure or wildland, will glean something valuable. Although from May, this information applies year round.]

How do you deal with emotional problems? The range of options is as varied as the problems and personalities involved.

When something has you bogged down, do you find a good friend and talk it through or do you keep to yourself? Everyone has their own way of dealing with life’s bigger issues. Some find relief through exercise or other physical activities. Others need someone to talk to, while others—me included—will take pen to paper and write out their thoughts and feelings.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

IGNITE: Sieze the Opportunity

On a chaotic and rapidly developing wildfire, one person taking the initiative can make all the difference in seizing and taking advantage of an opportunity. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 27

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Learn As If You'll Live Forever

"Live each day as if it is your last," said Mahatma Gandhi. "Learn as if you'll live forever." - Ben Dunlap

In "The Life-long Learner," Ben Dunlap shares many leadership stories. We share this video with you as promotion of the 2016 Wildland National Leadership CampaignNever Stop Learning. Fire leaders are duty-bound to develop their subordinates for the future. Followers are duty-bound to own their development. By working together, teams can accomplish their missions as well as grow in the process.

Building the Team
(Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 52)

 Fire leaders build cohesive teams—not simply groups of individuals putting forth individual efforts—to accomplish missions in high-risk environments. 

Cohesive teams are more creative and adaptable when dealing with complex situations. This enables them to detect and mitigate errors before irreparable damage occurs. Cohesion allows team members to anticipate the needs and actions of other team members. This increases efficiency and saves time. 

Fire leaders set the stage by creating an environment in which cohesive teams thrive: establishing a foundation of trust, enabling healthy conflict, requiring commitment, setting an expectation of accountability, and bringing focus to the team result. 

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper
  • Join the national campaign today. Download your copy of the Reference Guide and lead your team through exercises or develop your own.
  • Make a team commitment to promoting learning and personal development. Encourage one another to set and attain goals.
2016 Wildland Fire National Leadership Campaign - Never Stop Learning. Wildland firefighters passing a cross at a fatality site.
A leader’s journey is a perpetual cycle of acquiring, shaping, and honing the knowledge and skills of leadership. The leadership journey is never finished. (LWFS, p. 5

Monday, August 22, 2016

IGNITE: Growing Others

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. –J ack Welch (Engine crew responding to the Mile Marker 14 fire near Boise, ID)
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. – Jack Welch

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ron Garcia on the South Canyon Fire

South Canyon from The Smokey Generation on Vimeo.
"But to realize the potential of the present, we need to heed the wisdom of the past." - Eric Greitens
There are defining moments that shape every person. Those moments become the slides one uses for future events and decisions. Not every event will be the magnitude of a South Canyon or Yarnell Hill, but influence us regardless.

Ron Garcia shares his experience of responding to the South Canyon fire in the days following the tragic event.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

IGNITE: Bringing Order Out of Chaos

Fire leaders trade the indulgences of complacency, second-guessing, and fault-finding for the responsibilities of bringing order out of chaos, improving our people, and building our organizations. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 67 (picture of a very large Cedar fire, 2016)

Fire leaders trade the indulgences of complacency, second-guessing, and fault-finding for the responsibilities of bringing order out of chaos, improving our people, and building our organizations. –  Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 67

[Photo credit, Wayne Grieff, Cedar fire, 2016]

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Is Your Team Safe?

Psychological Danger vs. Psychological Safety
(Photo credit: We Forum)
Is Your Team Safe? 
By asking if your team is safe, I'm not talking about do you have your safety zones and escape routes lined out or if you are wearing proper PPE. I'm questioning your team culture. Providing a psychologically safe workplace where team members admit mistakes, learn from failures, openly share ideas, innovate and make better decisions is critical to the overall safety of your team. When members of the team fear speaking up or admitting mistakes, the entire team suffers. In the worst-case scenario, accidents and incidents occur.