My reference to who stays in motels and who sleeps on the ground was meant mostly in jest. It does have some basis in practiice though. CDF and the federal agencies like to rib each other using the differences between agencies that individual employees have no control or much influence over. Lately, the change in uniform from khaki to navy blue by CDF is the source of lots of ribbing, as CDF people are located lower in elevation than U.S. Forest Service people and are in hotter enviroments where a dark color seems a bit unpractical at times.
I won't comment on the remainder of what I think you are saying in your post. Just realize that there is a lot of cheap talk going on at the lower levels of an organization. This cheap talk may, and in most cases may not, have anything to do with reality. It is usually the result of the observations of inexperienced people who like to fill in the large gaps in their knowledge with some stories that don't link cause and effect very well.
Also remember that contractors are there for one reason and that is to make a profit. You won't find the same levels of dedication and commitiment among their ranks as you do with full time agency people. The more dedication and commitment the more it costs to keep people. The dedication and commitment required are more than most people can see or appreciate until they are in those people's shoes.