Living - and already savoring - the Adventures across the backroads of western Idaho and eastern Oregon!

30 July 2014

What, 106 Days since last Post? Well, let me tell you about my Wildland Fire Assignment

Three weeks ago I completed the last step for my US Forest Service certification as a Wildland Firefighter.  Sounds heady, huh, but just realize I don't intend to digging line with the younger folks!  I did the full course of training so that I can be a Fire Information Officer with the same basic qualifications as those I represent.

Can you believe, three days after certification, I got called to a 'local' fire and was on-site for 13 of the maximum 14 allowable days?  I can't!  By the way, local is a 1.5-hour drive away, and that's remarkably good luck since some 'local' assignments in my 'local' national forest might be a five-hour drive because they involve dirt roads.

I hiked a grueling hour uphill to spend just 15 minutes taking these kind of photos on the fire line!

But it was worth it if I listened to the feedback from my coworkers and Joe Public.  I co-wrote some public releases, updated many bulletin boards, was on TV twice, took photographers right up to the fire line (nothing unsafe) and lots of other smaller adventures. Adventures like the 3-hour round-trip to a nearby fire, at which I got to play the sole fire information officer role.  I took lots of pictures (two were published in Boise's main newspaper) and even met with a county commissioner at her home.  

15-hour days but packed with a variety of activities and chow hall meals.  Even got to shower every 2-3 days.  Sleeping in a tent is so much more fun when you don't have to get up at 0530, but no complaints.  I came home Sunday night and am still feeling tired because my regular job has been brutally busy, but at least today I got back in the groove by doing yard work in 89-degrees of happiness.

A helicopter filling a 100-gallon bucket of water (aka "a pumpkin")

A firefighter from the Sho-Pai Hotshots (native Americans and awesome firefighters)

I'm soon on stand-by for nationwide assignment, and that will be a new type of adventure since it may include putting two weeks of gear onto the flight with me.  Talk about sensible yet full packing!  That will be my life through September, outside of that week-long volunteer adventure in southern Montana (on Continental Divide Trail) and a biz trip to Missoula, Montana -- looking forward to visiting with son Chris, who's a junior at Univ. of Montana!

I don't want to bore you with details, so email or call me if you'd like to know more.

Cheers ~ Jose


James Wheeler said...

I saw you on television, good sir (at least, a tv news clip online)... You're doing a great service for your country, and glad to see your talents finally being utilized in a (hopefully) fulfilling way!!

Elizabeth Hensley said...

I'm in awe. That's amazing work. And it's a good excuse for not posting in a while.