© a Quinn Martin production
Lots of you have been asking what you can do to help. This year's resolution is to affect change on The Angeles and take back OUR forest. I will have an online petition circulating soon. Thanks everybody.

I originally wanted to blog about my adventures in the San Gabriel Mountains. I have some good stories, like the time I took a donkey to Ralph's Supermarket. But then the Station Fire started. I realized that there is much that needs to be brought to the attention of the mountain going public. Most folks are kept in the dark about how the Angeles National Forest operates. I will raise issues that are important to me, which are hopefully important to all citizens, but if you have any suggestions for discussion here, I am willing.

Here's the big agenda: Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron. I've made a few smart remarks and cryptic comments about her. But now, with the backing of some knowledgeable and trusted friends, it is time for a concerted effort to have her removed from her post. Stay tuned for details. And if you have any information you would like to contribute, anonymously or not, email me at gregsweet4@yahoo.com

I will get to some of the stories, sooner or later. Also, I want to make it clear that I no longer work at Adams' Pack Station, that these words are my own, and that the pack station is not the source of my information - they don't want trouble.

Station Fire Commander

Yesterday I posted the link to an article announcing the semi-retirement of Mike Dietrich, the Incident Commander on the Station Fire. I didn't write anything because I was in a hurry, and because I don't know anything about this man.

However, I do know that experienced firefighters drop like flies around Jody Noiron, which could be the reason a fire on The Angeles needed to borrow a commander from the San Bernardino National Forest. And I can't help but wonder if this most recent encounter with Jody had an affect on his desire for a break from it all.

Mike Dietrich is the one that announced at the beginning of the fire that they were going to fight it "in a frugal manner" and then quickly backpedaled. This doesn't sound like the words of an experienced firefighter (resume here »), but Jody Noiron has a track record of not spending enough money on fire suppression. I imagine that Mike was just doing as he was told. Did you notice how defensive he got when the press asked "Whaddya mean, frugal"? It sounded like he didn't know what to say - probably because it didn't make sense to him either. And Jody never once came to his defense. She threw him under the bus.

Update: Be sure to read the comments...


Anonymous said...

I was at a Tujunga community meeting on Monday in which Mike Dietrich so underwhelmed the audience with his lack of knowledge and extremely poor presentation (as IFC shouldn't he know that Tujunga is the area where most of the houses burned in this fire? Did he think it was instructive to show us a bunch of slides of fire burning trees and houses?) which wasted almost 45 minutes of our time discussing the 30 days AFTER the fire burned down our neighborhoods.

This was an outrageous and extremely insensitive affront to people who had come looking for answers to _W_T_F_ happened on Wednesday through Friday when our homes could have been saved, not the valiant effort to evacuate people after it was too late.

Although it is now clear to us that the major mistake was made on Wednesday, the day the fire started, when Scott Lowden proclaimed on TV that they were entering 'mop up' phase, we could all see how Dietrich would not and could not help matters any by taking over on Friday.

This numbskull was the least impressive of the three firemen who talked to us Monday night, and we are not surprised that the 1st 24 hours he took over is the day the fire bloomed almost ten times in size.

He may have been "thrown under the wheels" by Noiron, but a man who lists the Day Fire (which burned for three months) as a feather in his cap was probably chosen with care to be an easy scapegoat.

Greg Sweet said...

Thank you for sharing this. I was trying to give Dietrich the benefit of the doubt because I don't know him. But I do know what a cut-throat Jody is. And I like your angle of him being set up as a patsy; this is not beyond Jody's ethics.

The more I look into the problems on our forest, the more disappointed I get. Even some folks I like may be implicated in corruption, or shenanigans at least.

I have been trying not to pick on everyone in the Forest Service, but I am acquainted with Scott Lowden, and the most impressive thing about him is his giant mustache. I can't tell you how many time he 'promised' fuel reduction operations at Chantry Flat and in Big Santa Anita Canyon; but, again, a lot of that goes back to Jody.

In the The Greatest Good, a documentary on the first 100 years of the Forest Service, they describe themselves in the old days as 'the Marine Corps of public agencies' - that they had a can-do attitude. I don't see it on The Angeles anymore. I think it died entirely a few years ago when they put George Geer behind a desk.

Anonymous said...

Just read this recently and I have to agree with the others. This is a nice man but has absolutely no operations background. He consistantly tried to be funny in front of the cameras when peoples lives and property fell victim to his incompetance. Someone needs to check his past record as a Fire Chief, was he ever in a position to fight fires?? Check him out!!

Anonymous said...

Scott lowden is someone you want in charge. He has been with the forest service for 30+ years. He's no rookie and he knows what he's doing.

Greg Sweet said...

And he has a cool mustache!