Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Year round

People still seem surprised sometimes that I work all year.  "But it's winter," they say, "what do you DO?"

I usually say something about paperwork, training, and hiring, because that's most of it.  Hiring just one person for a 6 month seasonal position takes more paperwork than getting married does.  But here's something else: fire is taking less and less time off.

Due to climate change, fuel buildup in the forests, and more people building homes in the woods, fires are starting at times of the year they never used to, and getting bigger and badder. 

One of my employees is in California.  He is currently working on the LA fires, but he has been there for months.  Two others are going to Alabama and North Carolina this winter to fill critical positions.  Last February, some of them were out in Texas and Oklahoma on fires.  There isn't a month of the year that someone from my crew isn't on an assignment somewhere.

A week ago I saw smoke drifting through the trees in the park.  The fire that burned up there for most of the late summer and destroyed a historic chalet was still alive, despite weeks of rain and snow.  No threat anymore, it tenaciously hung on in cedar stumps and downed logs.  Nobody can really believe it.  It's December in the mountains, after all, but there it is.

The bears are starting to hibernate, but we aren't.  We don't unpack our gear anymore in October because you never know.  There is a fire somewhere, and we might need to go.
One of the LA fires. Photo courtesy ABC News.
 

8 comments:

  1. Those LA fires are so devastating! Good thing there are people who do stay on year-round and are available to fight these fires.

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    1. I can't imagine living there and having no warning. Here at least people usually know there is a fire coming and have a little time to get out.

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  2. We were thinking of your and your employees....it's beyond scary for those who live there and for those who have to try to stop this force. It's so heartbreaking to lose your home; we are just hoping all who evacuate and all those on the fire lines keep safe.

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    1. It must be really scary to wake up in the middle of the night and have to flee, not knowing there's a fire until then.

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  3. I'm always taken aback when I read internet comments like, "It's just like the movies." No, it's not. In movies, the people "dying" are actors, no real people lose real homes and a lifetime of memories and treasures, no firefighters are on the job for weeks on end, in real danger. The CA fires are harrowing to see. Thanks for all you and your crew members do across the country, Lynn.

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    1. I've only seen a fire running through a whole town once, not just an isolated group of houses or cabins. It was pretty intense.

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  4. I love this!! Thank you for the first responder support. I am just at the edge of the #LilacFire and we don't know what this weekend will bring. It's terrifying to drive from the OC to N. San Diego and make evacuation plans.

    Keep up the great work. Bravo.

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    1. Hi Karen! I hope you're ok. It must be nerve wracking. Since I wrote this several more engines and crews have headed to CA from here. We also sent people to Arkansas so something must be happening there. Please be careful and stay safe.

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