Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fighting fire. A hat I wear

I am a badass fire fighter. I bet you didn't know that about me. It's one of the many hats I wear in the bureaucratic land management world I work in. So yes, today I went a fought a fire on America's Temperate Rainforest.

Last night I ran around like a crazy, gathering up all of my gear--hard hat, gloves, nomex, goggles, 6 water bottles, line pack, and red bag. All of this stuff has been stored in our unheated house for about a year and it smelled curiously of ash and mildew. I had to run into the office and pick up my radio. I also dropped off my red bag with the gear I didn't need, figuring storing all this crap at the office would be a better place than the house. Went to the store to buy some snacks and a candy for the old man. (He was grumpy because the call for me to go out on the fire came at about 8pm, and he was already in bed).

I got up bright and early to get ready by 7. Getting dressed I couldn't find my green nomex pants. I ran around for a bit, looking for them but I brought them back to the office. Efficient. We stopped by the office go get my pants. The whole time tDF was singing, "no pants! No Pants!" It's our dorky no pants song. Off to the warehouse where we loaded 600' of hose, a pump, a chainsaw, a saw kit, a pump took kit, saw gas, and pump gas. Then to the office to talk to dispatch, where we found out the AFMO was peeved that we didn't engage last night. On to trying to find a boat. We called around until we located the keys to the Gillraker, and by 9 am we were loading the boat and heading to the fire!

We got to Aleukina cove and started looking. The column was an extreme wisp that floated along the shore. After sizing it up (it was 150 square feet, maybe) and implementing LCES, we engaged. The little pump was set up on the drop bow of the boat and we unrolled 100 whole feet of hose. My job was to watch the pump and keep the boat of the rocks during the falling tide. The incident commander hosed the creeping fire for about a hour. Then he whacked at it with a pulaski before hosing it down again.
I watched a pair of eagles teaching their fledgling to fish and the coast guard helicopter practice their hovering over water. We got done hosing it down and then we puttered around the bay for an hour before we checked again on the fire. It was cold.

Back to town by 1pm. Extreme.

Edited to add: Right after I clicked publish, an ad popped up for Carhartt flame resistant work wear. Strange, eh? I don't have ads on my page at all, but some interweb gnome thought I need some rugged Carhartts.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Harpy-
    I’m Megan aka bertscannery. I found you on Tasty Kitchen and have been enjoying your blog tremendously. I am a canning and preserving fanatic. As I can see you are a canning fan as well. My husband and I are starting a website ( It’s a work in progress. We hope to build a site with lots of canning /gardening information and great recipes shared and submitted by all. I would love if you would contribute to the site. As I can see from TK you have great recipes. Of course, we will give you full credit and post a link for your blog. If you know any other canners/gardeners out there that would like to share please let them know. If you have time and don’t mind please email me at

    Thank you so much!

    Megan Moyer