If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time (first thank you) you may be aware of my active involvement with the volunteer fire department where I live. The area has a high wildfire danger because we live in the forest and it is of course very dry for most of the year here in Northern Arizona.
July however is our rainy season; actually it is monsoon season which means rain every day accompanied by thunder and lightning. Often in July the lightning will hit trees and start them on fire. With everything else around that tree being soaking wet there isn’t much danger of the fire spreading but it is still preferable that we find the tree that is burning and mitigate the situation one way or another.
On Tuesday of this week our department was dispatched to just such an incident near our area along with several resources from the Forest Service and the neighboring fire department. If that seems like a big response for a burning tree you’re right but we didn’t know what it was until we got there.
Our engine tied in with one of the Forest Service vehicles at a high point (we live in the mountains) to try to get eyes on the smoke and sure enough we found it but we had already been driving around for well over an hour looking for it. The Forest Service crew we tied in with sent two firefighters to hike to it while we waited with our engine and the remaining Forest Service crew member.
We waited at this high point for about 45 minutes, this after driving around for about an hour. The two firefighters made their way to the lightning struck tree and relayed back how close they were to a road from the other side of the tree so we drove down to the other location, it was about a 15 minute drive over very bad roads requiring four-wheel drive low. When we got there we tied in with all the other resources I mentioned above, remained parked for another 20 minutes before the decision was made that the Forest Service crew could just handle it and so we were released after a couple of hours of doing close to nothing.
Wildland firefighting has a lot of intense action but it also has a lot of time just waiting and not doing anything. Last year we had a wildfire where the first day was intense action for 16 hours and the second day I sat on beach chair for five hours waiting to operate the water tender (water trucks are called tenders) if needed . The not doing anything part is of course all about patience and of course patience is a crucial part of investing.