1. Cleaning up after the rangers. After the law enforcement rangers practiced at the rifle range, the fire crew had to go in there and pick up their shell casings. Why didn't the rangers have to do this? We never got to shoot guns. To this day I have no idea.
2. Dancing in fire camp. On my first fire, the overhead team brought a band into camp and we danced with the Plumas Hotshots for hours. I thought all fires were like this. Sadly, they are not.
3. Rafting for teddies. After a carnival trailer fell into the river, we jumped in a raft and picked up plush toys from the water for several miles. Serendipitously, we also named several river features ("Teddy Eddy").
4. Drinking for dollars. The law enforcement rangers needed to practice giving breathalyzers and field sobriety tests, so they paid several of us to drink wine and beer for hours. They got some good practice.
5. Attending a fire camp wedding. Skeptical that her groom would make it back home in time for their wedding day, the bride tracked him down at the fire and had the ceremony there.
6. Enlisting a dog. We needed to run a fire hose from the pump by the river over to the helibase, but a busy road was in the way. Discovering a small culvert under the road, we tied one end of the hose to Melanie's dog's collar and encouraged it to run through, dragging the hose along. Dogs must think people are pretty strange.
7. Protecting the pilot from drug runners. Our fire on the Mexican border was at the intersection of two major drug trails. Too nervous to wait for us alone at the helispot, the pilot tagged along with us to the fire, apparently forgetting that at least with the helicopter he might have a chance of escape.