It’s the sound of more sirens, another bomber going by, the sight of yet another group of weary firefighters stopping for a meal. I would say it’s fire season but an official information officer told me they don’t call it the fire season anymore, rather, the fire year. This has been a bad fire year here in Northern California.
Maybe you’ve caught a glimpse of a helicopter with a bucket of water, or a spotter plane flying by to collect information to pass down to firefighters on the ground. These are scenes all too common in our region. The number of fires too many, the devastation far too wide.
The teamwork involved in fighting these fires is tremendous. Every agency is working together along with private contractors, businesses big and small, law enforcement and others, to assure the plan is precisely carried out. The plan, however, changes all the time, literally with the wind. While the wind and other weather conditions can quickly change things, so can steep terrain and many other factors.
I attended an official morning meeting at fire camp where the day’s conditions and cautions were discussed. It was heart-warming to watch dozens of entities working harmoniously together like clockwork on a common goal, fire suppression. Support services lined the neighborhood park which had been transformed into a fire camp. From complete meal service to baths, showers and a medic trailer; every need was met. Accommodations ranged from tents on a baseball field to portable trailer housing. Driving into camp, you could see huge thank-you signs were placed along the roadsides. In camp, two huge displays were built to post all the notes of appreciation that had been sent, many by children.
My trip to fire camp was enlightening to say the least. There is nothing you can feel but proud of and grateful for those putting their lives on the line of fire, and every command post calling the shots, and every back-up service that brings the plan to fruition. The effort is huge, the operation strategic and collaboration is key. The quiet comes for one fire as another emerges. A small fire in my own neighborhood brings helicopters, planes and with in a few hours, containment, a grim reminder that wildfire can strike anywhere.
Many fires are human caused. Extinguish campfires completely before leaving your campsite. Respect road closures due to fire danger and fire activity. Be safe out there. May God bless our firefighters and first responders as they continue to leap into action whenever and wherever they are needed. We thank them deeply; we salute them all!
Photo courtesy of CalFire