Sep 192007
 


This is just a photo of the helicopter that I rode in the other day.

A tiny little bat snoozing above the door to where our offices are.

Another photo of me briefing. This is our plans meeting – the smallest group I brief.

Sep 182007
 

Pretty uneventful day today. High afternoon RH’s…and the fire is pretty much done for – at least as far as we’re concerned.

Tomorrow’s discussion…then a couple of photos:

…GUSTY NORTH WINDS ACROSS THE AREA TODAY…

After just a small chance of a shower this morning, it will be a little warmer and drier today across the area as an area of upper level low pressure pulls off to the south into northern California. Strong gusty north to northeast winds will be possible through the day today as high pressure at the surface tries to push into the northwest. A little warmer and drier on Thursday?with relative humidity expected to make it back down into the lower 20s again in some parts of the area.

Outlook:

The warmest day of the week will come on Friday, with some spots hitting the 80 degree mark. Some cooling on Saturday and Sunday as today?s upper level low begins to pass to our southeast. However, this cooling will be offset by the introduction of very dry air in the lower portions of the atmosphere. The result will be relative humilities in the teens across the area Saturday and Sunday.

They’re very serious about keeping this building clean, so I’ve been keeping my garbadge picked up. As requested…a photo of me doing a briefing.

Sep 172007
 

The FBAN (Don) and I, took a drive around portions of the fire today – focusing more on northern portions of the fire, where there was still some active fire as of this morning. There isn’t much left. As of last night, we were 80% contained…as of 2000 (8pm) today, we were 100%!

This tree nearly fell on someone’s car. We got there about 10 minutes after it happened…and then waited only a few minutes before someone with a chainsaw could get there. This road was closed after this, so that crews could “snag” the road. That essentially means, that they go up-and-down the road and make sure there aren’t any partially burned trees about to fall on the road (like this one)…and they take care of any that may.Chopper making a retardant drop on some hot spotsThis is a photo of the Columbia river that I took on our way to the fireline. The Grand Coulee Dam is just around the bend.We drove some pretty gnarly roads up to a spot where one of the FOBS (Fire Observer…I think) was stationed. A very nice view of some hot spots from there. That’s Don and the FOBS fella.The view to the northeast from the FOBS’s peak. We were at around 3700 feet I think.

Sep 152007
 

I’ve learned a couple of things in the past couple of days:

1. When you have a layover in Ontario, your flight originated in El Paso, and the leg to Ontario was only about 2 hours long – you’re not in Canada. There were French books at the airport for god’s sake!

2. No one here knows how to spell Manilla…er, Manila. It’s “Manilla” on the national situation report, it’s “Manila” on our products here on the fire. Google Earth will take you to a town called “Manila Creek” with a road called “Manilla Creek Road” running through it. Now, when I’m asked how to spell “Manil[l]a”, I just say, “yes”. As, apparently you can pick any way you’d like. Today: “Mannilla”.

I won’t stop learning there!

Things are going well here at camp. I’m set up in a community center building in Nespelem, WA. Internet is provided – so I didn’t have to screw around with our personal internet satellite thing – which is nice.

The fire didn’t move a whole lot today with light winds…things are set to change though. My short-term forecast discussion for tomorrow’s forecast:

An approaching cold front and an associated upper level trough will bring strong gusty winds to the fire this afternoon. Although still quite dry; this afternoon?s winds will accompany slightly higher relative humidity than was seen yesterday afternoon thanks to increasing clouds and cooler afternoon high temperatures. The cold front will slide across the area tonight, bringing a slight chance of rain showers overnight tonight and into Monday ? although a wetting rain is very unlikely. Even cooler temperatures on Monday will help keep minimum afternoon RH?s above 20 percent across the area.

My briefings are going great. I jumped in well after getting here so late last night.

The entrance to the building I’m in:

Where I work:

My laptop, is the one in the very center of the photograph. The Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN) works at the desk directly to the right of that.

The meeting schedule is pretty hectic here. I present the weather at all of the ones with the “*”:

0600* – Morning Briefing

0830* – Aviation Briefing

0900 – NW Fire Coordination Call

1115 – Region 1 GACC Call

1200* – Plans Meeting/Lunch

1700* – Plans validation meeting

1800* – Night Shift Briefing

2000* – Team Meeting

Sep 132007
 


I leave tomorrow morning at 805am, for a fire called “Manilla Creek”. It’s in NE Washington state, about a 2.25 hour drive from Spokane, WA (where I’ll be flying into). Right now, the complex is 3,200 acres – pretty small – and is only 10% contained. I’ll be stationed near the town of Coulee Dam, WA, near the Grand Coulee Dam.

As always…there’s info in the National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report

Aug 272007
 

Previous or Next Landmark/Cascade Complex Entry

This should be my last blog on this fire. I just wanted to post some aerial photos of camp. Tomorrow morning is my last briefing. I then start the DEMOB process…and should be outta camp by 10am.

Pretty much speaks for itself.

That’s me (obviously), Gale (the FBAN), and my replacement – Jack, going to eat.

Also…here’s my departing forecast discussion…

Warmer and drier today as upper level ridging begins to build back over the area. Warming and drying trend continues into Wednesday…with the highest temperatures seen in the area since the 16th of August, and relative humidity in the single digits in some valley locations. Mid-to-upper level moisture will begin to push into the area from the south on Wednesday… with the potential of producing very isolated afternoon and evening dry thunderstorms…

…(outlook for Thursday through Saturday) Continued warm and dry with mainly southwest flow through Saturday as the area sits under upper level ridging. Strong, gusty afternoon southwest winds will make a return for Friday and Saturday. Mid-to-upper level moisture will keep the threat for isolated…mainly dry…afternoon and evening thunderstorms Thursday and Friday.

Aug 272007
 

Previous or Next Landmark/Cascade Complex Entry

I’m still laughing. Check out this photo of me doing my weather briefing this morning…

I was telling them about how temperature and humidity would be similar today, to what was seen yesterday…and lighter wind. Guess got a little too excited. I think I get a little uglier, every fire I’m out on.

And, an only slightly more normal one…

Aug 262007
 

Previous or Next Landmark/Cascade Complex Entry

I took a trip out to the fire line with the FBAN, Gale. With 3 fire dispatches under my belt, and not a flame seen…she was determined to show me something. We didn’t see anything too terribly crazy fire-wise. …but we saw some good stuff. Stuff I’d never seen before. I’m easily entertained right now. Two weeks of camping will do that to ya’.

I’d never seen salmon spawn…and it happens to be spawning season. So, on our way to portions of the southern reaches of the complex…we couldn’t help but to stop by and take a look. This is one of the streams we stopped by. Notice the deadish trees. This area was burned (note the black ground in places)…but not so hot that the trees were all destroyed.

Salmon.

Idaho is pretty. Who knew? Allot of dead/half burned trees everywhere…as we were in “the black” (burned area of the complex) for a majority of the trip today.

Some group torching (small stand of trees burning) near Warm Lake. This is in the video below.

Me, standing next to some puny fire trying to act awesome. It didn’t work out…and I look a smidgen cross-eyed. …not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’m not sure of the date (it was while I was here)…but this was a trash truck who’s brakes went out on a VERY steep curvy hill on the way back from one of our spike camps (where firefighters stay, away from the main camp – ICP, in order to be a little closer to where they need to be). The two passengers in this truck apparently sheltered in this general area for 9 hours…while their truck was burned over. The road had closed behind them…due to fire. Eeek.

A view of some of the southern portions of the Cascade Complex from the afore-mentioned “VERY steep curvy hill”. Looks like an atom bomb’s been dropped, doesn’t it?

A structure in Landmark, ID wrapped in the same material they make our fire shelters out of – to help protect against fire.

Aug 252007
 

Previous or Next Landmark/Cascade Complex Entry

I’ve never made it to blog #10 before on a fire. Hmph. …and I haven’t really had allot to say.

Well, today – now that we’ve had 4 days between us and about a half of an inch of widespread rain, fire activity is starting to pick up again. Visible satellite from ~545 pm Mountain Time:

Instability has been low, so the smoke columns haven’t been very impressive as of late – but you can still see allot of smoke pumping out of our fires.

Tomorrow – pending what I think of the weather in the morning, I should be able to head out with the Fire Behavior Analyst to check out the fire activity on the line. I’ve said it before, but I think tomorrow could be the day I get a few cool photos. Again, it will depend on the weather. If it looks like I need to hang out here and watch observations, I will.

We had a windy and dry day out there today – just barely Red Flag (3 or more hours of wind gusts >24mph along with relative humidity <16%). Tomorrow should be…wait, here’s tomorrow’s forecast discussion (sneak preview – edited for display here):

Strong westerly flow aloft beneath an upper level trough will translate to the surface again today, meaning another day of strong winds for the complex. These winds will accompany slightly higher minimum relative humidity thanks to moisture behind a cold front that will push across the area around mid-day. Although only slightly higher – the relative humidity should remain above warning criteria. Our upper level trough begins to push eastward for Monday, decreasing winds across the area as warmer and drier conditions begin to set in.

While our fires here in ID have been relatively tame as of the last few days, Greece has not been so lucky…

Greece declared a nationwide state of emergency on Saturday, as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis pointed to arson as the cause of an unprecedented wave of wildfires that have ravaged the country, particularly the southern region of Peloponnese.

Fire authorities put the death toll at 47, but a senior Health Ministry official said a total of 49 bodies had been recovered.

Satellite imagery from the area…