Northern California Fires

woodworkingboy

TreeHouser
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
31,016
Location
Nippon
My dad worked for the red cross, and he would go up to the California fires as a medical technician. He wasn't a doctor, but trained in first aid. As a child, I can easily remember him leaving and a sense of worry about the house, then coming home days later. He returned a changed man, red as a beet, most tired and irritable, usually unshaved and in a dark mood. I'd ask my mom, "What's wrong with daddy?" She would say, "Don't worry, honey, your father has been up at another fire". His best friend, Hugh, died from a grisly chopper accident at a fire, standing on the bed of a truck when it backed into a rotor. I remember dad coming home, walking through the door then immediately burying his head in mom's arms to weep. Very terrible things, those big fires.
 

FireFighterZero

Captain Zero!
Joined
Dec 8, 2013
Messages
24,950
Location
North Central Montana, bloody cold!
It sucks being here where there is no fire while these fires are burning in California.

Although my old boss at the state told me to never go to California to fight fire. He had been there a lot with the FS and BLM and did not want to go back, and said he would refuse to take us.

I love fighting fire.
 

Burnham

Woods walker
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
21,135
Location
Western Oregon
It sucks being here where there is no fire while these fires are burning in California.

Although my old boss at the state told me to never go to California to fight fire. He had been there a lot with the FS and BLM and did not want to go back, and said he would refuse to take us.

I love fighting fire.
I swore I'd never go back to fight fire in California, myself. Bad experiences with it there in the 80's, three tours and each worse than the last. Overhead was flying in and out each day in helos, staying in multi-star hotels, while us grunts were without showers or laundry, eating cold bagged meals three times a day, and sleeping 100 degree days inside culverts stockpiled in a road crew yard because it was the only shade for miles around, after felling burning snags all night. Quasi-military SOBs running the show, cared not a whit for the crews, far as I could tell.

Never did go back after that last tour, either. But that was a long time ago.

I know conditions are much better now (and have been for some good while), but I still have a bad taste in my mouth over it, 30 years later.

I hate fighting fire...sorry, Jim. I did it, but it never was much fun.
 

FireFighterZero

Captain Zero!
Joined
Dec 8, 2013
Messages
24,950
Location
North Central Montana, bloody cold!
Thats a common theme Burnham. My former boss was a FS forester when he got started and spent a lot of time in California. He has much the same to say. He was there for the 90's and most of the 2000's. Including being a fire over from the Iron 44. Lots of politics and bad decisions. Not to mention some of the most challenging terrain imaginable to fight fire in. The folks on the ground are some of the best you will meet. Sometimes they are asked to do the impossible, and sometimes they die trying to complete the job.

I should not have said I love fighting fire. That makes me sound like a nut.

It is the challenge that I like. The challenge of holding up your assignment while looking out for your people all the while trying to remain part of a team. Oh, and helping people too!
 

Bodean

Cali dreamer
Joined
Dec 9, 2005
Messages
7,562
Location
San Francisco, Kali
I called my buddy Shamrock, he's not even sure if his place has gone up or not. 120 acres with all his life there....he was over in Auburn when I called.


I can't believe Middletown burned....there wasn't much of a tree canopy in that town, must have been some serious preheating....world famous Harbin hot springs is gone.
 

CurSedVoyce

California Hillbilly
Joined
Jun 30, 2008
Messages
38,579
Location
Near Yosemite in CA USA
Safe here... Just ...... Can't...... Breathe........ Cough cough cough.
I'll post a vid soon and you will see the haze.
Feel bad for those affected by it. Crazy bad fires.
It over yet by a long shot IMO. Too damn dry.
We got a little rain today to help wash the dust off so it will burn better over the next few days.....
 

stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
22,238
Location
Denmark
I should not have said I love fighting fire. That makes me sound like a nut.

!
Jim, don't forget who you are hanging out with, here.
People who get a kick out of taking down the meanest, most rotten trees that there are. People who take on the impossible and pride themselves on making it work.

I think I can safely say, that each and every one of us knew what you meant.


On that note, I'll post a picture in the working pictures section, ( Because Jed bitched about me not posting enough pix) you'll see the difference between "Them and us" we just took down a really scetchy beech at a golf course and these 4 guys walk by, feeling manly, because they bat little white balls around with a stick:lol:

We get you, Jim.
 

Mrs.B

Treehouser
Joined
Aug 12, 2007
Messages
775
Location
Fort Bragg, Ca
...are Ger and Mrs. B in one of the danger zones ?
We are fine here. Maybe 75 miles west of the Valley Fire right on the coast. We drove right thru that area on Friday when we returned from Sacramento Airport and saw the devastation from the Rocky Fire in July. The Valley fire started the next afternoon around 1:30 and by 5 had destroyed an estimated 500 homes and partially destroyed 2 towns. 23,000 people are displaced and still don't know if their homes survived. People had to get out so fast that many had to cut their animals loose and hope they made it. They are letting people in certain areas today to look for their animals. A 72yr old women with severe MS was unable to get out and no one could get to her in time. They fear they may find more fatalities as some areas open up. 97 square miles burned the first 36 hours. They think the loss of homes may be over 1000 soon. It is heartbreaking. It's a very rural, mountainous area, dry as a bone this time of year, especially from the drought. Triple digits are the norm every day this time of year.
 

Mrs.B

Treehouser
Joined
Aug 12, 2007
Messages
775
Location
Fort Bragg, Ca
It just happened so fast and it is so dry and hot there. A lot of oak with a crispy understory of manzanita and coyote brush with steep canyons and hills and houses all thru it. They say the wall of flames was 150 high and miles wide. It's been said it's as bad as the Oakland Hills Fire in 1991 that burned 3000 homes and killed 60 people who couldn't get out.
 

stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
22,238
Location
Denmark
It is strange that we don't hear about it here.
A few years ago when Yosemite and Big Sur was burning, it was all over the media here.
Of this, nothing.

I really feel for you all out there.
 
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