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.|