Sunday, July 5, 2015

Followership to Leadership - 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge

2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge logo As we prepared to ring in the new year, the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) we challenge our followers to take the 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge. This year's theme is Followership to Leadership. 

New in 2015 is a change from an inwardly-focused campaign to an interdisciplinary challenge. Looking beyond self, the wildland fire service is challenging those within its sphere of influence to join our movement to IGNITE the Spark for Leadership—wherever we may live and work.

Visit the WFLDP website to download your copy of the 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership ChallengeFollowership to Leadership Reference Guide

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Mission: The mission of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program is “to promote cultural change in the workforce and to emphasize the vital importance of leadership concepts in the wildland fire service by providing educational and leadership development opportunities.” The challenge provides potential local or self-directed leadership development resources focused on a central theme with the intent of strengthening the wildland fire service and the community as a whole.

Theme: The theme for the 2015 challenge is Followership to Leadership. The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program recognizes “followership” as the first level of leadership. Leaders cannot lead without good followers. Good followers provide a foundation upon which better leaders of people, leaders of leaders, and leaders of organizations is built.

Task: Provide an opportunity for personnel at the local level—whether collectively or through self-development—to focus leadership development activities relating to the national challenge theme: Followership is Leadership.

Purpose:
  • To foster a cohesive effort to promote leadership development across disciplines.
  • To provide a template that can be used to encourage leadership development at the local unit level.
  • To provide a mechanism to collect innovative leadership development efforts and share across disciplines.
End State: Creation of a culture that willingly shares innovative leadership development efforts in order to maintain superior interdisciplinary leadership.

Dates of Challenge: Any time between January 1, 2015, and November 30, 2015.

Length of Challenge: Determined locally to meet the goals and the objectives of the local unit or team.

Audience: The target audience is all wildland fire personnel—line-going and support; however, we encourage other disciplines to IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and take the challenge.

Implementation: The challenge is flexible. Local units or teams may use or adapt any or all materials contained within this document or develop a program or activity spotlighting the challenge theme. Challenge coordinators are encouraged to think outside the confines of the template and develop a program that meets local and individual needs. Innovation should fuel your challenge delivery: workshops or tailgate sessions, to kick off staff meetings, as a team activity or self-directed, etc.

Measuring Success:
  • Local: Local unit leaders and managers will determine what “success” looks like and how participation will be recognized by those involved. 
  • National: A committee formed by the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee will recognize one unit’s contribution to the challenge through the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest. (See complete details below.)
Recognizing Local Unit Participation:
  • A sample certificate is available at the end of this document to acknowledge students of fire participating in the leadership challenge at the local level.

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest – From the Field for the Field

Throughout the nation, leaders are building teams and developing their people using tools they have found or developed themselves. Imagine if our leaders and their subordinates shared their experiences and successes with each other. Consider the possibility of going to a website and having a ready-made palette of leadership development tools from which to choose—items from the field for the field.

Using the spirit of healthy competition, the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest is intended to be one of the mechanisms used to collect innovative leadership development efforts to be shared across disciplines.

The IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest is an optional component of the Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge and limited to entities with a tie to the wildland fire service. Items to submit:
  • Required: 
    • Written summary not to exceed ten (10) pages. (See “Judging” section for what to address.)
  • Recommended:
    • Supplementary materials not to exceed thirty (30) pages or pieces. May include, but is not limited to, photos, videos, and materials used.
  • Optional (but highly encouraged and can be done with coordination of the NWCG Leadership Committee Logistics Coordinator):
    • Promote your leadership challenge through social media networks such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Provide a social media journal (can be very simple) and URLs for your pages.
Send your challenge documentation to:
  • Mail: NWCG Leadership Subcommittee
    Attention: Pam McDonald
    3833 South Development Avenue
    Boise, ID 83705
Judging

All entries will be judged on the following criteria:
  • Local unit information:
    • Name of participating unit/team
    • Point of contact (POC) name
    • POC contact information (telephone, physical address, and e-mail)
    • Number of individuals participating—include percentage of personnel involved
    • Brief description of challenge activities
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Apparent tie-in to the WFLDP values and principles 
  • Comprehensiveness of challenge (several elements used versus one or two and focus on challenge)
  • Inclusiveness (all personnel considered target audience)
  • Level of participation by target audience
  • Interdisciplinary impact
Winner Recognition
The NWCG Leadership Subcommittee will determine how award winner(s) will be recognized (e.g., plaque, trophy) on a yearly basis. Winner(s) and those recognized for honorable mention will also be featured on and through various media sites and publications.

Entry Deadline
November 30, 2015

Followership is Leadership banner

Friday, July 3, 2015

BLM Smokejumper Trains Mexican Leaders

Todd Jinkins, Assistant Base Manager with the Great Basin Smokejumpers, in his Boise, Idaho office.
Todd Jinkins, Assistant Base Manager with the Great Basin Smokejumpers, in his Boise, Idaho office. 
Todd Jinkins, Assistant Base Manager with the Great Basin Smokejumpers in Boise, Idaho, recently completed a two-week international assignment in Mexico. He was part of a team of U.S. wildland fire experts tasked with providing training to members of a Mexican National Incident Management Team (IMT). The Mexican IMT is training and developing command and general staff members to take on positions with newly forming regional IMTs in Mexico. 

Jinkins, a long-time smokejumper and a Type 1 Logistics Section Chief, was one of four federal employees on the U.S. training team. After a day of in-briefing at the Mexican Forestry Department headquarters in Guadalajara, Mexico, the U.S. team traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula to join the Mexican IMT for the start of training. 

Members of a Mexican Incident Management Team participated in daily planning and strategy meetings with U.S. wildland fire experts in Mexico.
Members of a Mexican Incident Management Team participated in daily planning and strategy meetings with U.S. wildland fire experts in Mexico.
The Mexican IMT, with its U.S. counterpart, took on two 400-acre fires which were threatening an airport and a major highway. Jinkins discussed ways to solve logistical problems with the Mexican IMT. His shifts on the fires were long, just as they are in the U.S., where the two teams managed two fires for a total of 10 days.

"As an initial step, our trip was successful," Jinkins said. "The U.S. government has a bilateral wildland fire agreement with Mexico, and we will continue to implement that with training, future exchanges, and sharing resources. Our two countries can really help one another out."
Brush in the Yucatan Peninsula served as fuel, making it difficult for firefighters to dig firelines.
Brush in the Yucatan Peninsula served as fuel, making it difficult for firefighters to dig firelines.
According to Jinkins, countries across the world are recognizing the need for more formally structured organizations to deal with fire incidents. Many countries are adopting – or adapting – the Incident Command System (ICS), which was developed and is widely used in the United States.

"As the effects of climate change become more and more apparent, countries like Mexico are recognizing that they need to get systems in place to deal with incidents. And it is not just fires they are dealing with – there are earthquakes, hurricanes – you name it," said Jinkins.

Jinkins found time to visit some Mayan ruins while in the Yucatan.
Jinkins found time to visit some Mayan ruins while in the Yucatan.
Jinkins added that he came away with a greater appreciation for how functional ICS is in the United States. "Being in Mexico made me realize how well-versed we are in responding to incidents. Fire management specialists from the BLM and other federal agencies are some of the best in the world when it comes to managing incidents," he said.

Story by Ken Frederick, External Affairs, BLM Fire and Aviation. Photos by BLM.
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Reprinted from the  BLM Daily, June 29, 2015.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

IGNITE: Freedom

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. – Peter Marshall
May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. – Peter Marshall
We send a very special shout out this holiday weekend to all those staffing fire operations across this great nation. We appreciate your sacrifice.

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

More Than a Resource

Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew logo

From equipment to personnel, the world of wildland fire is made up of resources. Unless you are ordered as a single resource, your identity is attached to that of your crew, base or piece of equipment. Rarely will your name appear anywhere but on a manifest. During the Yarnell Hill fire, the Granite Mountain Hotshots were assigned as "C-5" on a crew resource order. On June 30, 2014, we didn't just lose a crew, we lost 19 individuals.

Like many of you, I have struggled with the death of these 19 firefighters, the near-death of another and those who rescued him. I've studied the readily-available information and talked with those in my sphere of influence who knew members of the crew, but more questions than answers remain.

There will never be just ONE thing that can forever change to stop a similar incident from occurring in the future. Details may surface, that shed some light on the tragedy, but the point of this blog is to recognize the individual lives lost. This crew was made up of husbands, boyfriends, fathers, sons, brothers, grandsons, nephews, cousins, friends, church leaders, athletes, veterans, soul mates, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, partiers, exceptional students, Boy Scouts, lovers, speakers, advocates, biologists, naturalists, bikers, motorcyclists, students of fire and leadership, outdoorsmen, EMTs, carpenters, readers and writers. Each one was more than a resource. These multi-faceted individuals added value and purpose to their families--be it blood, affinity, or work.

Andrew Ashcraft
Robert Caldwell
Travis Carter
Dustin DeFord
Christopher MacKenzie
Eric Marsh
Grant McKee
Sean Misner
Scott Norris
Wade Parker
John Percin
Anthony Rose
Jesse Steed
Joe Thurston
Travis Turbyfill
Billy Warneke
Calyton Whitted
Kevin Woyjeck
Garrent Zuppiger

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Post-thought: Books and movies will be written; each giving us some perspective--right or wrong--of the individuals, the crew, the fire and those involved in the fire operations and accident investigation. We should always remember to temper our thoughts and actions with care and compassion. Our values of duty, respect and integrity will provide the mechanism to deal with whatever surfaces; care and compassion will form the bond that holds us together.



Monday, June 29, 2015

Take 5@2 - June 30 - July 5, 2015



Share this Take 5 @ 2 introduction video throughout your sphere of influence and stay tuned this week as we discuss each topic.

The “Take 5@2” safety messages are a cooperative project of 6 Minutes for Safety, the Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR), NIFC External Affairs, the NWCG Leadership Committee, the NWCG Risk Management Committee, and the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center.

IGNITE: Moral Courage

An outgrowth of strong character, moral courage enables us to build trust with our teams and gain respect from peers. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 64
An outgrowth of strong character, moral courage enables us to build trust with our teams and gain respect from peers. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 64
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

Friday, June 26, 2015

North Carolina Interagency Workshop - Working with HART


North Caroline Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team

On June 18 the North Carolina State Forest Service (NCFS) sponsored a 4-hour interagency workshop with the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NC HART). Attendees included firefighters and managers from NCFS, USFS, and local fire departments. Ron Hollifield, Regional Forester for the NCFS, was instrumental in holding this session.

North Caroline Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team
The NC HART is the only program in the nation that utilizes a military aircraft staffed with non-military Rescue Technicians in cooperation with the NC Army National Guard, NC State Highway Patrol, NC Emergency Management, and municipal fire departments throughout North Carolina.  It is managed through the NC Department of Public Safety.  

North Caroline Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team
North Caroline Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team

 The helicopter used on this day is a UH-60L with both short-haul and hoist capabilities. [The fleet consists of two other helicopters a UH-72 Lakota (hoist only) and a Bell 407 (short haul only.)] 

Workshop with North Caroline Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team

 The workshop consisted of classroom presentation on the program and capabilities, a field session with the pilot, crew chiefs, and rescue technicians (here from the Charlotte Fire Department) and then a live demonstration. 
 
 For more information, contact Ron Hollifield or Riva Duncan for more information.

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Thanks to Riva Duncan, US Forest Service R8 FMO, for sharing this post.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

IGNITE: Ethical High Ground

Wildland fire leaders demonstrate moral courage by adhering to high ethical standards and choosing the difficult right over the easy wrong. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 63
Wildland fire leaders demonstrate moral courage by adhering to high ethical standards and choosing the difficult right over the easy wrong. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 63
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lessons from the Mudd Fire Staff Ride

Mudd Fire Staff Ride
(Mudd Fire Staff Ride; photo credit, Elko BLM)
On June 12 following the state's Engine Operator Course, the Elko District BLM conducted the Mudd Fire Staff Ride for 35 participants from Ely BLM, Elko BLM, and Battle Mountain BLM.
Mudd Fire Staff Ride
(Mudd Fire Staff Ride; photo credit, Elko BLM)
Incident Background

Mudd Fire Staff Ride
(Mudd Fire Staff Ride; photo credit, Elko BLM)
Northern Nevada was experiencing a record breaking fire season in 2006 with resources from throughout the nation either responding to incidents or staging in the Elko area. 

The Mudd fire started on August 23, 2006 at approximately 2:59 (Pacific Standard Time) from diesel exhaust just northwest of Adobe Summit on State Route 225. Interagency suppression forces were dispatched to the reported fire, 10 miles North of Elko, NV along State Route 225. Rapid fire growth and rugged topography dictated the need for several access routes into the emerging incident. 

With ground resources rendezvousing at different points around the fire, coordination of suppression tactics became increasingly difficult and some communication channels were either compromised or non-existent. The conditions and events that occurred during the Initial Attack phase of the Mudd Fire would, in the end, lead to a fire entrapment situation.

Staff Ride Resources


  • Mudd Fire Staff Ride Website (includes participant and facilitator guides, electronic presentation, and more)

  • Mudd Fire Staff Ride
    (Mudd Fire Staff Ride; photo credit, Elko BLM)

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    What is Wisdom and How Can It Be Attained

    Several small items from a journal with sketches to herbs lay on a wood table
    (Photo credit: Photodisc)
    By Cameron Cota

    Most think of wisdom as interchangeable with the word knowledge. It is not. Knowledge is to know something; wisdom is to put it to practice. These two go hand-in-hand, yet they are not the same.

    Knowledge can be obtained through study, but to gain wisdom a second element must be added: hard work. Wisdom must be gained through personal experience. Ben Franklin once said, “The doors of wisdom are never closed.” Wisdom must always be sought out, practiced; else it be tucked away, never to be used. Wisdom is also ever abounding. With each new scenario, new wisdom is gained. Once a person thinks to himself, “I have learned all there is to know.” All his wisdom has been lost, for that thought is merely another way of saying, “I don’t want to learn any more.” Personal experience and a passion for wisdom are the key ingredients for a wise mind.

    In reading this essay, I hope your eyes have been opened to wisdom, it’s definition, and it’s attainability. My hope for you is that the fire of the pursuit of wisdom will be fueled and that you will never again confuse knowledge with wisdom.

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    Cameron Cota is the 15-year old daughter of Heath Cota, Sawtooth National Forest - Minidoka District FMO and member of the NWCG Leadership Committee. All expressions are those of the author. "Do Great Leaders or Ordinary People Make History" was an in-class essay for Cameron's history class. This is the first of two essays.

    Today's blog entry is a testament to the power of influence. Leadership is an art that transcends boundaries. As Heath told me when he shared Cameron's essays, "It speaks of a lifelong study of leadership; and if you think that your subordinates see and hear all, even more so do our children." 

    Are you influencing beyond the fireline? We would love to share your stories.