Friday, February 15, 2013

Forest Service, Idaho Agency Hit With Fines Following Probe Into Firefighter's Death

Six months after a 20-year-old Moscow woman was killed while battling a wildfire near Orofino, the U.S. Forest Service and the Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protection Agency have been fined more than $14,000 for violations in connection with her death. Anne Veseth of Moscow was killed when one tree fell and crashed into another tree, causing it to fall in a domino effect. The tragedy occurred while Veseth was battling the Streep Corner Fire on Aug. 12, 2012. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation, leading to citations and fines. Among the several violations listed in OSHA's report were: failure to keep crews informed of weather reports and not knowing what the fire was doing at all times. The report also pointed to "communication problems" and inadequate "maintaining control of workforces." But a spokesman fro the U.S. Forest Service said they disagreed with the findings and will issue their own safety investigation report later today. "It's 180 degrees different than OSHA," Rick Brazell, supervisor of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, told the Lewiston Tribune. "[The Forest Service's report] found no one did anything wrong and it was a more intensive investigation than OSHA."  Boise Weekly


Anonymous said...

"[The Forest Service's report] found no one did anything wrong and it was a more intensive investigation than OSHA."
I work for the FS & I was on that fire. I had friends on another crew refuse to engage because of the cowboy tactics being used & the blatant disregard for any of the guidelines we follow. Their exact words to the IC were "if you don't mitigate these hazards (handed them a paper addressing the 10 & 18 and which were violated) then we won't engage." Additionally they said "you're going to kill someone" & sure enough. Long story short, they refused, they were released and we showed up (day after Annes death) crossing paths with this recently released crew who told us we were going to a shit show. I could go on with stories & what we witnessed, but yeah, the FS is WRONG on this one big time, but what's new, another example of CYA. I'm embarrassed to work for this agency ... 8 more years.

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