March 26, 2012

Water and Fire

A volunteer firefighter wades the creek to attack one flank of the brush fire.
Unlike what the fire monks might have done, I did not bow when I saw the plume of smoke. In my defense, I was driving. I believe I said, "Well crap, there it is."

All day the wind had set the pine trees nodding and bending. A patrolling BLM fire patrol truck had gone up and down our road once in the morning.

As I was working in the early afternoon, the power briefly blinked off. Maybe that was when the winds slammed the wires against a dead cottonwood tree on a ranch to the north, setting off a brisk three-acre brush fire in the riparian zone, full of tall, prickly currant bushes, dormant willows, and narrow-leaf cottonwoods.

For once we had water. I pulled the brush truck down along the creek, hooked up some 1-inch forestry line, and others started hauling it across to attack the fire.

Someone else prepared a drafting hose to refill the truck's tank. Oh water, lots of water. Like city hydrants!

Both floating pumps were in the water too—you can  barely see one at lower left, with a 1.5-inch line attached.

Yes, Bob should be wearing wildland PPE, but he is not. On the other hand, he was there —  and willing to stand in thigh-deep cold spring run-off.

"Big Sister" department came from the nearest town, and the BLM and Forest Service sent engines too. Four hours later we declared it out, sort of. We'll need to patrol more in the morning, checking the smoldering logs, etc. There may be, as the feds like to say, "smoke on the incident."


Midwest Chick said...

People seem to get the idea that living in a cabin in the mountains must be the most restful and uneventful existence you can have.

Yours doesn't seem to be that way....

LabRat said...

Beats Stingray's reaction which was "...Shit. Honey, Google that."

But given the location, we saw the plume long before anyone else but the earliest responding firefighters knew there was a problem.

Chas S. Clifton said...

MC: All if takes is a couple of dry years, and suddenly things are no longer so restful.

LabRat, speaking of which, I could to see a full simulation of the Las Conchas fire during a recent SimTable demonstration. (It helps that the company is in Santa Fe). Interesting to be able see it presented in 3-D and speeded-up time.