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 Firefighting (Wildland)

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PostSubject: Firefighting (Wildland)   Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:13 am

It may not seem like it, but there's a ton more to firefighting than you may think. Wildland firefighting in particular. Clouds, RH Percents, Wind Speeds, Temperature, Topography, Fuels, as well as Fire Behaviour are all things that you need to know in order to be an effective firefighter (or to simply no ahead of time when and where a storm will happen, as well as how severe it's going to hit. I know the basics, but I do wish to continue training in it. You can tell a lot by what the weather around you is doing. The earth is constantly speaking to you. It never does anything without a fair warning. If you don't know your stuff on the fireline you could lead you and your entire men into a death trap. Always know what the fire is doing, but first know fully well what the weather is doing. 

For example.

Stine, Dodd, Davis, and myself were patroling the edge of the block to make sure the perimeter was secure and nothing was creeping into the green. It was fairly boring for the first hour or so.

"We've got some heavy torching over there." Stine informed us. It wasn't too dangerous but we always let each other know immediately when we see anything that could possibly be a threat. No matter how small or insignificant it is. It could be torching, smoldering, creeping, running or spotting. It could be an unusually shaped branch or root system in our path; we shout out "Footing!" then the guy behind you does the same and so on down the line so that the whole entire crew knows that rough terrain is coming up and so it's no surprise. SA (Situation Awareness) is the most crucial element.

We walked a ways more. It had been windy a bit that day so we of course were all already on high alert. But then the wind stopped. Suddenly. A red flag we were taught to look out for. What a Sudden Calm means is that it has been windy for a little bit, and then all of a sudden it just stops. It's not that it eases up, dissipiates or anything like that; it simply stops. I spoke first, "You guys feel that?"

"Yep, sudden calm, nice job Hamilton." Dodd came. He was my boss on that assignment. We decided to leave to a different area. The torching and the sudden calm made us nervous. It's not the sudden calm that's bad, it's what comes immediately after. When a Sudden Calm occurs, what's really happening in the atmosphere is that the shifting and battling winds go straight up, and afterwards can bring a BIG gust of wind, STRAIGHT DOWN on you. So if your surrounded by fire and it's a little gusty and all of a sudden everything stops and it's calm, get the hell out of there because when that wind comes down it will lay the flames down on their sides, elongating it. A six foot standing flame with a small gust of wind to the east can lay it down and suddenly it's a twelve foot long horizontal stream of fire. Knowing little things, and attention to detail can mean the difference between life and death out there. 

After this year, I have noticed that my observational awareness skills have skyrocketed tremendously from constantly keeping my eyes and ears and nose open. It's the little things that'll getcha.

Anyhoo; just a thought. I reccomend any RLSH over eighteen to sign up for a season of Forestry. Great experiences, awesome training oppertunities (Such as CPR, First Aid, First Responder Training, etc). The training you will receive from firefighting (wildland) will increase your sensory perception, giving you an edge over others in the awareness department, it will get you in super physical condition, it will make you quit smoking if you do smoke, you'll learn a tremendous amount of outdoors survival training as well as how to build an amazingly comfortable camp ground in the middle of absolutely nowhere with limited supplies, and it will teach you to get past your own problems with other people and will force you to coperate and work together. My people skills have skyrocketed as well; I'm much more calm, cool, and collected now. Oh, and did I mention that you'll make thousands and thousands of dollars? No? Yeah, well, you will. I worked sixteen hour days throughout the summer for about fifteen bucks an hour. I had more money than I knew what to do with. (I've never had that much money before and so I didn't know what to use it for so I just let it sit around and dig into the pile a bit when I do want something....my needs and wants a pretty small and simple so that's nice. But hey, maybe you're a little more ambitious than I and have grander plans for the vast sums of money you'll be making! 

Firefighting is awesome. I'm exceedingly glad I decided to give it a try and now I can't imagine doing anything else. Winter is here though, so the seasons over, but that gives me an entire winter to prepare myself for next season. I'm going to come back there and be even better. Every year I will make myself just a little more. My dream job, is to become a smoke jumper. I would LOVE to skydive to work! First though, I have to do a few more years as an FFT2, then I can apply for a Tech position, then after a couple years of that I'll be able to apply for squad boss, and after that I'll be able to apply for a Hotshot position, and after a few years of that I will have an AWESOME resume and will be able to fulfill my dream of becoming a smoke jumper. I'm truly dedicated to making this happen. I've never wanted anything more than that.

It's funny....the things I want the most in life, money just can't buy.  Smile

Stay true. Stay free. Stay safe.

--John
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PostSubject: Re: Firefighting (Wildland)   Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:07 am

Nice one!
- Rook
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PostSubject: Re: Firefighting (Wildland)   Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:31 pm

Thanks. Smile
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