The USFS' response to the concerns expressed by these wildland firefighters is disturbing. While I have little contact with USFS wildland fire crews, I volunteer on several nearby USFS districts. I saw a VERY different level of COVID concern locally; after instructing a First Aid/CPR/AED class at my "home" district ranger station, I was contacted by the District Ranger and informed that a person visiting the ranger station that day was being tested for COVID, and that I should self-isolate until informed of those test results (which came back negative). Three weeks later I was scheduled to give a FA/CPR/AED class for five summer staff, and that evening again received a call from the District Ranger saying one of the five had a roommate who was being tested for COVID. I again self-isolated until test results were available (again negative).
I understand that each USFS forest or district has some autonomy, and suspect that USFS Wildland Fire groups do, as well. Further, I know none of the history of the personnel listed in the link, but the actions taken by the agency are not the actions I would expect to see on any of the nearby USFS districts (NC, TN, & GA) on which I've volunteered. Sad...
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. African Proverb
No matter how noble and how righteous your cause, if you go off the reservation and slag your employer publicly or even within the organization, it is a classic career limiting move and the result these two achieved was very foreseeable.
Also, they were on probation. I'm scratching my head a bit here. Surely they knew they were extremely vulnerable to termination?
In terms of invoking whistleblower status, the horse had long left the barn.
If these fellows were indeed right, they went about it the wrong way.
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