Jul 14, 2020 - After Effects
Finally yesterday I heard that the rest of my team had all gotten their test results back, and all were negative. As of today, they are the team at the top of rotation to be assigned to the next big fire in Arizona or New Mexico. I hope they get lucky and the monsoon season starts soon. What a difficult thing it must have been to hang out in a hotel awaiting results and knowing that there was only a very short time before you might be deployed again. As for me, I'm off the calendar for a bit. I think there are a number of other people...Jump to full entry
Jul 8, 2020 - Speedy Exit
I've given you my perspective on the rather speedy ending to my fire assignment but there is more to the story and it might put a different perspective on COVID concerns for some of you. First - Arizona is being hit really hard right now. You've probably seen that on the news but it has a different feel when you know people who are there. Wildfire planning officials began working on procedures for operating during COVID this spring. Initially, there was supposed to be no ride sharing but that is truly impossible because forest fires don't...Jump to full entry
Jul 7, 2020 - First day off... sorta.
My demobilization (Demob) was rather abrupt. The fire died down a bit and I thought perhaps I would have a little extra time to get all my paperwork in order so that today, which was scheduled to be my last day, could be short. Then I heard that the forecast was for hot and very windy yesterday and today, so the rest of the team planned to stay until Thursday or Friday before turning the fire over to a smaller, less equipped team. I wasn't excited about extending but had decided I would be a team player and put in the extra days if...Jump to full entry
Jul 7, 2020 - Bentonville VA, Shenandoah River State Park
We had beautiful, but a bit hot, weather for the next part of our trip which took us to Shenandoah River State Park in Bentonville VA (Just south of Front Royal VA on rt 340). We have a nice back in site with lots of privacy. On the morning of the 8th we went down to the canoe launch area of the park. Only two kayakers were heading out and there were pretty much no other cars in the lot. So, .... somehow we accidentally dropped Bentley’s leash .... and he got to go for a swim in the Shenandoah River! He seemed to love it. When he got out he...Jump to full entry
Jul 4, 2020 - Much improved
I had another big surprise this morning but a much better one. The fire was quite a bit cooler meaning a lot of the fuels have burned to completion so ...LESS SMOKE! A number of folks were extra nice to me, I'm thinking because they felt pretty bad about my day yesterday. But maybe they thought I brought in the cleaner air. Haha...goodnight!Jump to full entry
Jul 3, 2020 - Atypical Day 10
well. No lack of adrenaline today. I woke at 5:45 and saw I had an email from my newest boss. I say newest because I effectively have 3 bosses. I have a national coordinator who decides which ARA goes to which fire(s) so it is really important to keep him happy. For this job I have an Arizona Smoke Coordinator who I believe would have made an excellent air traffic controller. I say that because when I used to give aptitude tests there was a skill/ personality test we knew fit that job: people who make very intuitive snap judgement calls....Jump to full entry
Jul 2, 2020 - Dreaded Day 10
On my first fire assignment the coworker across from me would occasionally look at someone and ask if they were on "Day 10" of their 14 day assignment. There was invariably laughter and confirmation. Finally I had to ask what was funny about Day 10. She said Day 10 is the toughest day because by then sleep deprivation has really set in, adrenaline is long gone, and you're still too far from the end to get excited about going home. So on Day 10 you just have THE LOOK. The zombie look. Every assignment I've had has been true to form, but on...Jump to full entry
Jul 1, 2020 - Does anybody really know what time it is?
Simple solution: Silver clock (for $$$) is AZ time where my boss is working. Red clock (fire) NM time where the fire incident command team is located and meetings are broadcast. Black clock is Universal Time which matches model runs and satellite imagery. My watch is still on Eastern Daylight which is saying I should already be asleep. So goodnight!!Jump to full entry
Jun 30, 2020 - what spare time?
It's ironic that up until a few days ago I could have actually had spare time. The initial assignment was challenging because I was forecasting for the entire state but now it is challenging for a whole set of other reasons. I like being assigned to a single fire but I have to learn a whole new team of people, set up new distribution lists, attend a different set of meetings which are now in a different time zone, while still closely coordinating with the same supervisor who is still on Arizona time. AND yes we are making great progress at...Jump to full entry
Jun 29, 2020 - Glad for my virtuality
I keep looking at my forecast maps and seeing gorgeous places I'd love to visit. I've forecast for the Grand Canyon and Wire Pass am now moving over to a fire that is between Petrified Forest and Canyon de Chelly. Under normal circumstances it would be wonderful to be in fire camp at any of those 3 fires. But things are not normal. I heard from my supervisor today that Arizona has so many fires right now and so many firefighter units either confirmed with COVID or in isolation that they are running out of units to send to fires. Ordinarily...Jump to full entry
Jun 28, 2020 - Whirlwind
Things are always changing rapidly in the fire world. Tonight I was advised that my job is changing from being a regional coordinator to working with a single, new fire. It is called the Woods Spring fire and it's on Navajo Tribal Land, not far west of Gallop, NM. I don't feel I'm being demoted...I think the move is because they really need someone who can quickly try to get sensors in and working. I'm excited but don't have time to write more. So...soon. goodnight!Jump to full entry
Jun 27, 2020 - Sights from Fire Camp
Part of what is makes these days seem long is that…they are long. On typical assignments I am expected to work 16 hours per day but for virtual, I was told I could work 14 or even fewer as long as I can get my work done. Still, these days seem longer than fire camp days. Today I figured out part of what makes each day seem long is that I am not getting much time away from my desk. In fire camp, there are physical meetings and briefings to attend. Because the camps are big (and sometimes very big) most things I need to do are at least a five...Jump to full entry