Yesterday I got the call to head out on a 14-day assignment to a wildland fire in Colorado. After 11 years of fighting wildfires I can finally say that that some of the adrenaline and novelty have worn off. I feel like when I head to a fire I know what to expect and how things will shake out. But this trip is going to be a whole lot of different.
My usual role on a fire takes me to the fireline where flames, smoke, hardwork, and keeping my crew safe are daily fare. This is a roll I know well and cherish. From the time I started in fire it was what I wanted to do. However, the time had come in my career to explore other jobs in fire.
This year I joined an incident management team as a status check-in recorder. An incident management team is one of the teams that comes in and manages a large fire, like the ones burning in Colorado right now. My role, which I have yet to actually do, involves a computer, copy machine and paperwork. Talk about a huge change.
I will be helping the planning people check in incoming firefighters to the fire and getting them assigned to where they most needed. I know it’s an important part of the system. It will be a huge learning process and a challenge. Two thing that I love. But a part of me is very sad to no longer be playing a direct role in fighting the fire.
When I met my team and loaded up my gear to leave it was very apparent that this was going to be a different kind I game. I had my line gear and a red bag; they had pillows, computers, and duffle bags. I have a lot to learn. Oy! Welcome to a whole new world of wildland fire.
I’ll try to post updates while I’m out I this fire. The next couple days of this assignment will be too busy to post but as soon as I get a chance I’ll try to fill you in on this new world of mine.
Have a safe and fire-free weekend!