Sep 172006

John, the Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN), took this photo this morning at the briefing. He took it from behind me, to capture the crowd. The crowd actually extends beyond the depth of the tent quite a bit…and to the left and right quite a ways, through those clear windows in the tent. There is a sound system wired through the tent and around portions of the outside, so everyone can hear. Just thought I’d post this one, because my camera battery is dead, and this is the only new photo I can get my hands on.

I can only get a shower in the afternoons, as they aren’t open early enough in the morning. Thought I should explain the greasy hair.

Sep 162006

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Tripod Complex Entry

Parental Warning!!! Some content not suitable for children!!!

Here are a couple of excerpts from entries in the weather log done by the IMET that trained me before he left…as altered by the Fire Behavior Analyist (FBAN):

DAY 38 DATE: 9/06/06 Wednesday

…temperatures were generally about the same as yesterday, ranging from 72 at Gardner FRAWS to 95 at Highway 20 FRAWS. Afternoon minimum humidities ranged from 13% at Buck Mtn to 21% at 1st Butte. Corey, IMET Trainee, arrived this evening at 9 pm. He seems like an asshole. …

DAY 39 DATE: 9/07/06 Thursday

…We were told that they are moving camp within the next 24 to 48 hours. Corey and I are going to 8 Mile Camp and Mazama tomorrow. I hope he doesn?t fuck up to bad. …

DAY 40 DATE: 9/08/06 Friday

…Corey and I traveled to 8 Mile Camp to search for the missing ATMU. I don?t think he?s bathed in days. Talking with The Supply Chief, no trace has been found. It was looked for as supply was torn down and packed to move. No ATMU found. Next step is to search the Wenatchee Fire Cache on my way back to Seattle, Monday the 11th. Corey and I then continued west to Mazama on a familiarization trip and to monitor the Highway 20 Fire RAWS reaction to Large traffic. Corey pretty much just sat in the vehicle for the afternoon because he was afraid of snakes. …

Sep 142006
These were taken during the big morning briefing this morning. The first is of me giving the briefing (taken by the other IMET, Eric). I took the 2nd one right after my briefing. I was trying to capture the crowd…but it was dark, and I had no place to sit my camera to use a longer exposure…so it was the best I could do. I would guess that around 200 folks are there normally for the briefings. We do weather 2nd in the briefing…so people are usually still listening at that point.

These will be the last photos for a while. My camera battery is dead, and a charger is on the way…should be here by Friday or Saturday afternoon. Oh well.

Sep 112006

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I know we’ve all seen deer before, but there is something wrong with these deer’s brains. There are deer all over this area, and you can walk right up to them. The last 2 of these photos was taken without zooming at all. I was about 4 feet away. Weird. I was told you can pet them…but I didn’t try. Look a little mangy. But, like I tell people here, they’re still good eatin’, ’cause mange is nature’s seasoning.

These two photos were taken at around 5:45am, at a splinter camp from our own in Conconully. We conduct the briefing from around the big bright light in the photo on the left.

To do this thing, I get up at around 4am, to review weather info, to make sure the forecast is on track. We (me, and 4 others who give other info at the briefing) then leave at around 5am for this camp near Loomis (not the new one I’ll talk about below). We arrive 45 minutes later, for the briefing to the crews there at 6am. We also have a briefing each day at the main camp at 6am (Conconully). The other IMET did that one this morning.

Tomorrow, we move camp to Loomis, WA, to be closer to the active fire. The fire is on the moutain range to the West of the highlighted cities on the map. We’re currently in Conconully, WA.

Sep 102006

The Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN), John, and I went to what is currently called division N on the Tripod fire yesterday. Or, to be fire-fancy, division November.Anywho…this division is on the far northeast side of the fire, and is of great importance because of the fire perimeter’s proximity to the Loomis National Forest. This is a protected forest, that hasn’t burned in a long long time…and is thus primed for burning with lots and lots of good fuel, ready to go up. So, the challenge on this side of the fire, is to clean up forest (burning it) up to the protected area, without (obviously) setting the protected area up in flames too. So, the FBAN planned a trip up there to evaluate the situation, and look at the dozer line (a line cleared of trees and other fuels, meant to serve as a firebreak and protection for stuff on the other side). Unfortunately, weather was kind of dreary this day…so there wasn’t much cool-looking fire.

This area was beautiful. I tried to get a few good pics. I didn’t get to see any fire personally, only smoke…but take a look anyways.

Sep 092006

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Tripod Complex Entry

Here are some more photos from my trip to the Tripod Complex (1,
These are boring. I’ll post some better ones of my trip to the fire tomorrow.
No ACTUAL fire though. Smoke…no fire. Beautiful though.

Jim, giving an afternoon planning
Me, giving an afternoon planning briefing.
The “big ones” are in the morning. It’s more like a pre-planning
planning briefing.
On a drive north to scout a new spot for a Remote Automated
Weather Sensor (RAWS), I saw some places where they had structures surrounded
by sprinklers, for fire protection.
Up on the right hand slope of this road is a fire RAWS.
We were checking it out…trying to see if there were any il-effects due
to traffic on the winds. There weren’t. The RAWS remains there. Exciting.
A little fire house on the N side
of the fire.
Sep 072006

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Tripod Complex Entry

Here are some photos from my trip to the Tripod
. The first 4 are from the drive in, and the bottom 3 are from camp.
I would have taken a picture of where I sleep, but I think you’ve all seen an
SUV before.

No really interesting photos yet…but I go to the fireline tomorrow morning,
so I can get an idea of what I’m forecasting for. So with any luck…

Off I-90 East of Seattle Sunset behind me on my way down Highway 2
East in WA
Fields on my way down Highway 2 East in WA. Notice how
dry the grass is!
A bridge across the Okanogan River in the distance as
I traveled north on highway 97 towards Omak, WA (near camp). Notice how
the smoke is starting to make thing a little fuzzy.
Weather equipment on camp. There
are several in locations around the fire, who’s data we have access to.
Some of the big-wig’s tents. We work out of
one of those trailers behind them.
Here are some of the tents on camp. These
belong to firefighters.
Sep 052006

Previous or Next Tripod Complex Entry

Tomorrow, the 6th, I”ll be leaving for Washington state on an Incident Meteorologist (IMET) dispatch for the National Weather Service. There”s a wildfire called the Tripod, there. I”ll be in Conconully State Park in Omak, WA. If you click on the link I provided for the park, notice that it says: “The main camping area is closed to the public. It is being used as a forest fire command center.” I”ll be camping for 2 weeks. Here”s a map of generally where I”ll be (click on it, to enlarge the image):

The Tripod fire is in the mountains just to the west of Omak (there”s a Super Wal-Mart in Omak!). Here”s a closer look (again, click to enlarge):

Click here, to see a satellite image of smoke from the fire (taken on the 3rd, I believe).

This map shows the burned and actively burning areas of the fire as of the 3rd. For more recent information on the fire, the USDA Forest Service has a nice map, with info updated daily. Just click on the number on the map corresponding to the Tripod Complex (there is a key below the map), and a window will pop up telling you the newest about the fire. As of today, the #19 corresponds to the Tripod Complex, and a Type I team is assigned to the fire (that”s why the fire indicator on the map is red). A Type I team is trained and experienced to manage the most complex incidents, whether they be wildland fires, hurricanes, floods, terrorist strikes or virtually any type of disaster.

As of the 4th, is was classified as a 161,111 acre fire (5% increase from the 3rd) and was about 56% contained. This fire was caused by lightning.

Hopefully, I”ll be able to post some pics here while I”m at camp. You can check on my status (whether I”m there or traveling there or home) here…if you know my name.