Sunday, August 15, 2010

So I got home from my fire assignment, found out we had been getting fires at home, was told I could work as much as I wanted, decided to work all my days off to earn some extra money since my assignment was short, and Faith decided to bail to Idaho. So I worked all my days off and we haven't gotten any fires since then. Oh well. My fire assignment was pretty good, I got to work on my Division Supervisor task book, which means I'm in charge of pretty big chunk of fire, with about 120 people working for me. I only made one mistake during the fire. That was sitting at the bottom of a ridge and saying to my trainer "It doesn't look that far to the top, I think I'll hike up there tomorrow." There was a road that some crews were working on at the top, so I figured I'd hike up along the fire edge where I had some crews building line, then walk the rest of the division along a roadway that some engine crews were working on making sure it didn't cross over into the fire that burned there a couple of weeks before. That's right, we were making sure fire didn't cross a road into another fire, I didn't get it either, but I do excel at following directions, so that's what I had folks doing. Anyway, "not that far" doesn't mean you can't climb a little over 2000 feet in elevation in a little less than a mile, the last 800' of elevation gained by basically rock climbing in fire boots, a pack, and tossing my tool up to rock ledges so I could use both hands to climb. At one point I decided to go back down, but when I turned around and looked at the shale slope I'd just climbed up, holding onto the edge of a rock bluff the whole way, I decided that sliding off the cliff at the bottom of the shale slope was probably worse than just finishing the hike, so I did. I've done some pretty horrendous hikes on fires, and that one I think is in 2nd place. First place goes to scaling a rock wall with fire gear and assorted helicopter long line equipment wrapped around my body, using a crash axe to reach up and hook onto ledges to pull myself up. Anyway, throughout the assignment as a trainee division supervisor my branch director never talked to me, he's my direct supervisor on the incident management team. After a few days he told me that I was doing such a good job he didn't need to bother me with anything. Then on our last day one of the operations section chiefs (they're second in command on an incident management team in terms of carrying out the actual firefighting) came up to me and told me that the rest of the team was very impressed with me and would like to recruit me to join the team on a permanent basis. The next morning my branch director and the other operations section chief (there's usually a 2 or 3 on a team so they can work in shifts) asked me to consider joining the team full time. I told them I would love too, usually a person has to bounce around for quite awhile before being asked to join a team, and asking a trainee to join the team as a permanent member doesn't happen very often, so I'm pretty stoked about that. I've been pretty bored since Faith and the boys left, I can't wait for them to get home. Faith surprised me by calling one day and telling me to look at the dog Casey on, as she would be bringing home one of his puppies as an early Christmas present for me. She's bringing home a female, pure bred lab, from what looks like an excellent line of hunting dogs. It should be fun, and make duck hunting alot easier for me. That's about it, I've just been working and reading alot since Faith and the boys left. I went camping with our friends Landon, Brooke, and their son Jackson on Friday night, that was pretty fun. We camped in a campground, which I normally don't like, but we had a good time all the same. The berries are all just about ripe now, I found a huge patch of thimbleberries and rasberries the other day and picked about a pint in 20 minutes. I ate them all on my way home though. Tomorrow I think I may go pick some huckleberries after I go to work. It's supposed to be my day off, but apparently one the crews we sent out had some problems and I have to go in and talk to them about what the problem was. Hope everybody's doing well.

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