Brothers and Sisters,

CAL FIRE Local 2881, along with the California Professional Firefighters, has introduced legislation to make COVID-19 a presumptive illness for first responders. We are currently under the Governor's Emergency Declaration concerning presumptive injury and illness, which is only temporary during this pandemic and allows for employers and workers compensation to challenge where an individual contracted the disease. The current Executive Order states that the individual must prove they contracted COVID-19 in the course of their duties. The legislation we have introduced intends to remove this aspect of the executive order. 

There is a lot of resistance from multiple elected representatives across party lines on this permanent legislation and change in the language. Both CAL FIRE Local 2881 and California Professional Firefighters are engaged in working with our legislative teams to achieve this overdue legislation in California. The International Association of Fire Fighters is currently pursuing Federal legislation that would give the same P.S.O.B rights to a firefighter who loses their life to COVID-19. The same benefits provided as if a firefighter succumbed to a traumatic injury while on duty. This Bill is currently on its way for a Presidential signature. 

We will continue to advocate for our members to ensure they are taken care of when exposed to an on the job illness or injury. With that being said, we need your assistance. California and State departments have hired dedicated COVID-19 contact tracers. In some cases, these contact tracers are tasked with watching social media and large group gatherings in an effort to track people who have tested positive and whom they are interacting with. We need you to be smart in your social media postings as this could create misunderstandings as to how the virus is contracted and misrepresent the firefighters who become exposed on duty. 

The profession we have chosen comes with inherent risk. It is imperative we all take appropriate precautions to protect ourselves from this disease.

Stay The Course,
President Tim Edwards
Wildfire potential to increase in the Northwest in August and September
The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook issued August 1 by the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center for August through November predicts that the northwestern states will have above normal potential through September. In October and November that distinction shifts to California and the southeast.

The data from NIFC shown here represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.
The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook issued August 1 by the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center for August through November predicts that the northwestern states will have above normal potential through September. In October and November that distinction shifts to California and the southeast.

The data from NIFC shown here represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.
“As precipitation and cooler temperatures arrive in fall, areas of concern will shift southward to portions of California as offshore wind events become more likely. Without a robust monsoon and potentially delayed fall precipitation, fuels will remain very dry across much of California. With ENSO-neutral to potentially La Niña conditions, an increase of frequency of offshore wind events are possible. Additionally, drier than normal conditions are likely across much of the Southern Area given current long-term weather and climatological trends. However, an active hurricane season is a source of uncertainty."
The Tough Discussion on Diversity in the Fire Service
Jim Ridley, IAFF Assistant to the General President for Education and Human Relations, and Robert Sanchez, President of the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association, engage in a frank discussion about racism they have encountered coming up in the fire service, the steps leaders can take to make their locals and departments more inclusive to all, and the IAFF programs they can use to make it happen.

Sponsored by the IAFF Financial Corporation |

Meet your CAL FIRE Local 2881 Chief Negotiator Gary Messing
Gary Messing became Local 2881’s Chief Counsel and Chief Negotiator in January 2008, when Ron Yank retired. He has vigorously advocated for the rights of Local 2881 and its members since 1976.

Gary is one of the most experienced and recognized public sector union negotiators in the State. He has negotiated hundreds of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the State, Cities, Counties and Districts, mostly representing public safety unions.

Gary was the Chief Negotiator for Local 2881’s last three multi-year contracts and extensions and had already negotiated MOUs for two other State bargaining units in the past. The current MOU negotiated by the Local 2881 bargaining team and Gary resulted in increases in total compensation ranging from 20-25%.

Gary is a not only a highly-esteemed professional negotiator, but also he has unparalleled experience navigating the complexities of bargaining for Local 2881, including the uniqueness of negotiating with the involvement of both the executive and legislative branches of state government.

Additionally, Gary and his legal team aggressively litigate for Local 2881 members. His record of success spans from the “IOU” case in the 1990s to wins in litigation involving academy overtime, annual lump sum cashouts, and paramedic retention and recruitment overtime. These wins reaped members tens of millions of dollars in back pay. More back pay awards will be forthcoming from favorable settlements in the POST academy overtime pay and cash in lieu settlements taking the total to over $50 million dollars.

Gary has also achieved enormous successes enforcing the Unit 8 MOU with arbitration decisions that have been converted into court judgments, protecting overtime shifts at the Alma Helitack base and Battalion Chief shifts at LNU. These two court judgments enforce the Entire Agreement Clause of the MOU which prevents changes to any benefit of any substantial economic value, whether or not it is set forth in the MOU. The LNU BC rotation case ruled that every firefighter in the bargaining unit “owns” their shift. In 2017, Gary helped preserve the Battalion Chief eligibility list. Gary has been involved with numerous appellate court cases over the years and has appeared in the California Supreme Court as well as the United States Supreme Court.

Gary graduated from Amherst College and received his law degree from Columbia Law School. In 2014, he was elected as a Fellow to the prestigious national College of Labor and Employment Lawyers – he is the only union lawyer and one of only six labor and employment lawyers in Northern California - outside of the Bay Area - to be included. Gary has presented seminars to public sector labor attorneys on collective bargaining for the California Bar Association, as well as for labor and employment lawyers in the American Bar Association. Gary is a perennial Northern California Super Lawyer and has also been named in Best Lawyers in America. In 2018, through 2020 he was named as one of the top 500 plaintiff's employment lawyers in the United States by Lawdragon, an agency that has been ranking attorneys in the U.S. for over a decade. Also in 2018, Gary was honored as a Centennial Fellow by the Sacramento County Bar Foundation as part of the Sacramento County Bar Association’s 100-year anniversary centennial celebrations. He was one of only eleven attorneys recognized for this first-time distinction awarded to “attorneys at the pinnacle of achievement who, through distinguished professional accomplishment, substantial civic involvement and philanthropy, have earned a legacy as founding pillars of the Sacramento legal community.”
Upcoming Webinars from the IAFF Center of Excellence
The IAFF Center of Excellence is hosting an online education series with topics for first responders, health care providers, clinicians and the community at large.
Community Education Series (12-1:30PM EST) - Open to Public

Speakers: Lauren Kosc, LCPC, CCTP
Justin Price, Local 947 Greensboro, NC
Community Education Series (2-3:30PM EST) - Open to Public

Speakers: Sarah Bernes, MPH, LMSW, MBA
Jeff Campbell, Local 1660 Tualatin Valley, OR
Heith Good, Local 1723 Norwich Township, OH
Community Education Series (12-1:30PM EST) - Open to Public

Presenter: Molly Jones, LSW
CAL FIRE Wellness Unit
Have you checked out the CAL FIRE Wellness YouTube channel? They have over 115 videos of various strength exercises, circuits, warm-ups and stretches to keep you healthy and strong.
Subscribe today!
Exercise Spotlight: “The Weighted Carry”
By Wellness Analyst: Katy Luetke

Most people have a favorite exercise or set of exercises that they like to include in their workout routines or exercise programming. CAL FIRE Wellness has favorites too. We like exercises that challenge multiple joints, require balance, and can be implemented easily for multiple purposes. The Weighted Carry does just that. It trains the whole body while specifically working grip strength and does so in a way that can be job-specific for firefighters. You can use the Weighted Carry to train Muscular Strength or Muscular Endurance depending on the loading and the duration of your Weighted Carry event. Learning to breathe through the bracing that is required in all versions of the Weighted Carry is an important skill also. The first version of this exercise is demonstrated by Chief Rosales on the CAL FIRE Wellness YouTube Channel here: BILATERAL WEIGHTED CARRY Dumbbell. In this video, a moderate loading is carried for a desired amount of time, balanced on both sides of the body, which challenges the body symmetrically across all joints and throughout the gait or walking/running pattern.

The following pictures are an example of the loads that Firefighters might carry on a structure fire. Wildland Firefighting operations, PPE, and equipment can impose very similar strength and endurance challenges.
As the firefighter pictured dons PPE and then adds his SCBA and other gear, the weight distribution across the body is not even. This asymmetrical demand that firefighter’s face can be trained specifically during PT or during your workout. This is why the Weighted Carry is CFTC Wellness Battalion Chief, Jon Woody’s Favorite Exercise. If you alter the amount of weight that is carried on each side of the body, or only carry weight on one side, you can progress the Weighted Carry in a Job-Specific way. Here are examples from the CAL FIRE WELLNESS YouTube Channel that you can use to progress your program:

All of these exercises and more are included in the Playlist for Weighted Carry exercises on the CAL FIRE WELLNESS YouTube Channel. There are also ideas for how to implement these exercises into your home exercise program or Station PT program in the Fire Control Physical Training Document (PT Binder). It is available on the CAL FIRE Intranet and can be accessed here.

Tips, Coaching Cues and Keys to Success for all Weighted Carry Exercises: When gripping and picking up the weight or bar to start the exercise, always wrap your thumb around the handle. Take a deep breath and fill your lungs with air to create a strong cylinder to brace against before you pick up the weights. This starts the exercise with strong posture. Stand Tall with your shoulders back, chin up and breathe while you walk. Lead with your hips/abdomen while you walk. Take short steps. Keep the weights close to your body. Set the weights down, do not drop or slam. (more available in the PT Binder and YouTube)

For more information about how to implement Weighted Carry exercises or questions regarding your fitness program, please contact the Wellness Unit at
Sisters and Brothers,

As you know, our 2020 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial will be conducted as a respectful, virtual remembrance on September 19 to honor our fallen whose names will forever be etched onto our Wall of Honor.

While we won't be gathering in September for this solemn day at our beautiful Memorial site in Colorado Springs, we can still be together in solidarity by sharing tributes and remembering our fallen member(s) now through September 19 on social media using our graphic (shown here) and the hashtag #IAFFWallofHonor ... or you can you can create your own video, photograph, etc., and include honor guard, pipes and drums, affiliate leadership and family.

We are all disappointed that we are unable to hold our traditional ceremony this year, but this is the safest and best path during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members are reminded that no IAFF or Colorado Springs Local 5 staff will be at the site on the day of or days leading up to this year’s virtual remembrance. We will be providing more details on the virtual event in the coming weeks.
Please remember to follow local, state, provincial and national health policy guidance to prevent potential exposure to COVID-19 when creating your tributes.


Harold A. Schaitberger
General President
Did you know that California State Parks Forestry Aides are members of CAL FIRE Local 2881 and BU8. They choose to be represented by Local 2881 and are afforded the same benefits and opportunities that BU8 members get. They see the advantage of being part of the largest firefighters labor organization in California and the second largest in the nation.
2 planes collide while battling wildfire near Caliente; pilots killed in collision
NEVADA (KTNV) — Two single-engine planes collided Thursday afternoon while trying to contain a wildfire near Caliente, Nev., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The collision occurred at about 1 p.m. between two Air Tractor AT8T airplanes. They were deployed to help battle the Bishop Fire, about 17 miles from Caliente.

Officials say one person was aboard each aircraft at the time of the crash, and the Bureau of Land Management later confirmed the pilots died in the collision.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the two pilots and to all those working with the BLM Nevada Ely District,” said BLM Nevada State Director Jon Raby.

What do you think about the single-layer pant? Share your thoughts with us via the survey link below.


As we navigate these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued uncertainty it presents, we are cancelling the 2020 California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony and instead will have a California Firefighters Memorial Tribute for 2020 in lieu of an in-person ceremony. Ensuring the safety of all friends and family is of utmost importance.

As part of the 2020 California Firefighters Memorial Tribute, names of loved ones will still be engraved on the Memorial Wall for 2020 at California State Capitol Park, Sacramento. In addition, a commemorative video tribute that embodies the honor, courage, duty, and sacrifice of California firefighters we have lost in the line of duty will be created. The video will be available to view on the California Fire Foundation’s website, via our social media channels and will include footage of the Memorial Wall on September 26th, 2020.


Have questions about PORAC benefits? Check out the info below for more information.
Wondering why we are asking for your Date of Birth? At the 2019 CAL FIRE Local 2881 Convention, it was approved to add the membership of our Union into PORAC (Peace Officers Research Association of California) which cost an increase of $2.00 to your dues. There are several things that came with this but there still seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion. This is information below is meant to help those still unsure about what PORAC is:

1.)  Every L2881 active member is an associate or “Limited Member” of PORAC, except CAL FIRE Peace Officers.
2.)  All CAL FIRE Peace Officers are “Full/Active” PORAC members and have access to the full benefits of PORAC, ensures they have adequate protection and benefits, and access to the PROAC Legal Defense Fund.
3.)  As either an Associate or Full member, you have the OPTION to enroll into the PORAC Public Safety Healthcare/ Medical Insurance Plan
4.)  As an “Associate” member, L2881 members who live in areas of the State who don’t have any or minimal options of getting a health insurance plans now can sign up for PORAC’s health insurance for them and their families.
5.)  One of the PORAC requirements for membership is that every active member is officially signed up using their Date of Birth (DOB). Since L2881 does not collect DOB, members have seen a push to gather this information from the members.
6.)  Active members who wish to sign up for the PORAC medical plan, have that option during the September Open Enrollment period. You must have signed up as a PORAC member for them to have your DOB.
- Signing up for the PORAC Medical Insurance during open enrollment, or a life changing event, enables a member to take advantage of some added benefits:
- Taking the plan into retirement in another state
- FREE body scan from head to toe, every 3 years, screening for heart/cardio disease, over 20 types of cancer, lower and upper back pathologies, lung disease and others.
- Lower premiums, depending on your location
- A healthcare plan for those members living in rural communities
7.)  Members who DO NOT wish to sign up for the PORAC Medical Insurance, still need to sign up for their PROAC membership with your DOB. *This does not mean you are signing up for their Medical Plan.*

Click here to read answers to some commonly asked questions. Still have questions? Reach out to your Chapter Director.
Did you just recently retire? Congratulations! Make sure to sign up to be a CAL FIRE Local 2881 Retired Member and stay in the know!

Reach out to Danielle
Retiree Corner
CalPERS Announces Health Plan Premiums for 2021
Read about it here

CalPERS Open Enrollment
CalPERS has announced the health plan open enrollment period for 2020. Changes made during the open enrollment period will be effective January 1, 2021. The open enrollment period is September 21 through October 16, 2020. 

Open Enrollment Webinar
Do you know what to do or how to prepare for Open Enrollment? If you're eligible for CalPERS Health Benefits, join us for this informative webinar on August 12. Register here

1959 Survivor Benefit Program
The CalPERS Board has determined the rates for the State 5th Level will be as follows:
The required employee premium for the State 5th level pool will change from $5.40 to $5.95 per member, per month for fiscal year 2020-21. This is in accordance with Statute 21581(c), which specifies that when the total required premium (after amortization of surplus/unfunded liability) exceeds $4.00, the employer and the member shall evenly share the required monthly premium.

Long Term Care Program
The program administered by CalPERS is experiencing severe funding issues. As you may know, CalPERS was sued over the previous rate increases. The suit has not yet settled but it does appear any settlement will not be in favor of CalPERS. The long-term care staff is looking at all aspects of the severely underfunded program to recommend adjustments that will bring meet the future needs of all enrollees. It appears there will be a cessation of new enrollees until the staff comes up with reasonable alternatives. This option will be considered in the coming weeks along with appropriate solutions. The updated status of the entire program will be presented at the September, 2020 CalPERS meeting.
Like many other organizations, the CalPERS meetings are held online with participation from the audience via telephone contact. It is unknown when the in-person meetings will resume.
As a reminder, all members can access his/her health information year-round, including Open Enrollment updates, by logging in to myCalPERS, or learn more by visiting the CalPERS “Using myCalPERS” page.

A special note to those retired members who are on Medicare.

You may be entitled to a higher reimbursement for your Medicare Part B premiums. This provision could impact your Medicare Part D costs as well.

If you have been notified by the Social Security Administration that you are being charged a higher premium for your Medicare Part B and Part D coverage, you may be entitled to a higher reimbursement from CalPERS.

The notification from the Social Security Administration is via letter generally issued in the latter part of November each year. The letter will spell out the additional premium(s) based on your adjusted gross income reported on your previous year income taxes. You will also be billed monthly instead of quarterly for the Medicare premiums. If you receive a Social Security distribution, the amount will be deducted from your SS monthly distribution.

This additional charge is called the IRMAA (income related monthly adjustment amount).

If you have questions or are unsure of your charges for Medicare coverage, contact me through email. Make sure you keep all correspondence from CalPERS and the Social Security Administration.

Ray Snodgrass
State Retiree Director
With Personal Exposure Reporting from California Professional Firefighters, firefighters can document exposures to toxins that can produce job-related illness.
Sailors test positive for COVID-19 after sharing firefighting gear at San Diego ship fire
One sailor said the scene outside the ship at the height of the conflagration was "chaotic," and sailors shared firefighting equipment, such as masks and gloves

By Andrew Dyer

At least two sailors from the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego tested positive for COVID-19 after fighting the fire onboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, the Navy said Friday.

At least 27 people who were in contact with them are quarantined.

The Navy's statement came in response to questions raised by several USS San Diego sailors during interviews with The San Diego Union-Tribune. According to the sailors, at least five sailors from their ship have tested positive in the last few days.

The sailors spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to publicly comment on the matter.

The Navy confirmed that two of the sick were at the scene of the fire.
"Two Sailors supporting USS Bonhomme Richard firefighting operations recently tested positive for COVID-19 after exhibiting symptoms," said Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Navy spokeswoman.

"Contract tracing identified 27 close contacts. All contacts were placed in ROM (restriction of movement). The Navy continues to implement COVID-19 mitigation measures to protect the health of our force."

The sailors from the ship said a significant number of the 27 "close contacts" work in the San Diego's engineering department and include senior department personnel. The department has increased its staffing rotations to fill in gaps left by those under quarantine, the sailors said.

Is your physical/mailing address updated with us?

Did you get the Summer 2020 Fire Front mailed to your home last month? If not, then we don't have your current address.

It's important for us to have it in case you are impacted or may be impacted by a wildfire or other emergency. Use the link below, call or email us to update it today!

(916) 609-8711 /
Has your marital status changed? Update your L2881 beneficiary information with us today and keep your loved ones secure. Fill out this form and send it to Danielle @
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Provides funds for immediate life sustaining assistance to firefighters and their families who have suffered debilitating injury or loss of life.

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