Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summit Fire Update 5/26/08

Sorry this took so long to write up. Here's what happened during my time on the water tender on Sunday night.

First off, we met the previous crew and geared up. Then we headed out to the fire with a full load of water. We were working the northern edge of the fire, starting from the west side and moving east. Our job was to fill up any engines that needed water as we encountered them, and to keep certain portable tanks full as well.

Our shift started at 5:30pm, though, and as we drove into the fire zone we found that most everyone working that edge of the fire already had full tanks and were settling in for the evening. In fact, the north and western edges of the fire looked basically quiet to me. The north east corner still had active fire working, however. We could see the smoke plume and even some flames from our easternmost point, at Ormsby Fire Station.

While there we met the head of the water group and talked with him, working on sorting out some paperwork issues. Also at that point we handed out the last of the water we came with. Our 2200 gallon tank empty, we headed back out to refill, but as things were settling in for the night and no one would need additional water until the morning, we were released to go home and sleep in our own beds, rather than on the fire line itself.

I know our water tender was back on the line this morning, probably doing the same job, and I believe it has was released entirely from the fire this evening. That's a fine thing. Our department's limited resources are probably better spent responding to new incidents in our area rather than stretching us too thin and having us work the Summit Fire for prolonged periods. With thousands of personnel there, our best focus is probably on the area we know well, and where we can make a great deal of difference quickly thanks to that knowledge.

Todays news tells me that the fire is 70% contained now, and based on what I saw on Saturday night I believe it. I'm sure mop up work will go on for weeks, but unless something significant changes in the weather it is probable we've seen the worst of the Summit Fire.

I'm still collecting information on other fire information sources. One is Lorri Scott's blog. Lorri is a long time friend and fellow artist. She lives closer and more to the north of the fire than I do, so her perspective is a bit different.

I'm told that has a blog and that it has good information, but I can't read the site in my browser for some reason. It comes up with text all over itself. I pass that link on, but I don't personally know if it will do anyone any good.

From this story I learned that a local animal shelter was destroyed in the fire. They are looking for contributions to help them rebuild. If you are interested, you can find out more from their website

I'm afraid that's all I've got on the fire this time around. Frankly, that's a good thing in my mind. The sooner the Summit Fire is old news the better, so long as we learn our lessons and are prepared for the next one.

With that in mind, over the coming days and/or weeks I will probably reduce my posts in this blog, but also start covering a wider range of topics. You're always welcome to get in touch with me about anything you see here, and of course, share things of interest with me so I can pass them on.

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day. Keep safe!