Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(mis) adventures in firefighting

2012 will be my 25th season fighting fire. I'd like to say that I've come this far with no mishaps, but I'm sure some of my firefighting friends would immediately come out of the woodwork to tell some stories. It wouldn't have been fun if things hadn't gone wrong occasionally. It can't always be unicorns and rainbows out there, can it? The statute of limitations has expired on most of these (I think). So here it is, the list of shame. Along the way, I:

  • Caught my hair on fire with a fusee while burning in front of a fire with the hotshots.
  • Started an unintentional fire at fire camp.
  • Started an unintentional fire at a helibase.
  • Temporarily misplaced a backcountry patrol cabin, thus leading to an illegal campfire in a national park, an unplanned swim, my firefighter partner spraying himself with pepper spray, and a 2 am death march through grizzly infested brush fields.
  • Temporarily misplaced my 20 person crew while I scouted for a water source. (But those meadows all looked the same!)
  • Temporarily misplaced an entire fire while I scouted for better egress. (Thanks Tacoma for starting up the saw).
  • Engaged in an inappropriate fire assignment romance. (It was so fun though).
  • Sent a rookie to Supply for a gallon of rotor wash. (But felt bad and had him come back before he got there).
  • Got caught by fire camp security trying to sneak off to some prohibited hot springs with my helitack module.
  • Was determined not to ask for resupply on a 4 day helitack fire, so ran out of food (thanks Aaron for sharing!)
  • Forgot my headlamp, and of course ended up in the woods at night.
  • Forgot my hard hat, and had to wear my flight helmet all day like a dork.
  • Asked for too many blivets on a helitack fire, causing Dan and I to test the limits of our line packs with gear on the long, long hike out. (Sorry!)
Unfortunately, this is only a partial list...stay tuned! I'm sure there will be more to come.

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