Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Tuesday, Babies, Littles , extreme heat, fire


 Kelsa spent the night last night and right now she and grandpa are both napping under a fan in the spare bedroom.  The littles were so excited to come today and they are fascinated by the baby. Playing outside is out of the question with the heat.  It was 98 here at 8 this morning so we know it will well into the triple digits by noon.  It was recorded 111 here but as I have said before our temp is taken at the airport at the top of the tower.  So it will be cooler up in the heights. We registered 113 here and the normal hill area was 117, and downtown which is below sea level  was 121.  

I might get hubs to pull out the baby pool later and put it under an umbrella.  This was the kids can cool off and stay in the shade.  I still have to go out and water the pots.  We had friends call who said they lost a couple of chickens to the heat.  I took out a large bag of frozen peas and scattered them throughout the coop. This was expensive chicken feed, but seemed to perk them up.  We also changed their water for cold several times and put up more shade for them. 

I was able to get two wedding dresses done yesterday and I hope to be able to get 6 pair of missionary pants done today and a couple of wedding dresses.  The littles are so grown up now, it is hard to believe that when we first started watching them the eldest was not a year old and her brother was three weeks old.  Oh how mom loved the days the babies came.  They were her favorite.  She would get up early and sit in her recliner and rock the baby and feed him and boss me around all day.  I did not know a thing about taking care of a baby :).  They would nap together and she spent hours rocking and patting his back.  Good memories. I think she felt useful and who doesn't love a precious baby.

Hubs was fighting fire for several seasons before we married.  He has a degree in fire management.  He actually wrote his senior thesis on fire in the urban interface.  This was almost  50 years ago.  It was also before wildfires started to invade the urban areas.  His dean wanted it published as he could see that this is what the future held.  As more and more federal land was not cut and managed for over growth, fuels would come to an all time high. This is what is causing the problems we have now.  Nature will always take back it's own and fire is a natural part of landscape control.  In fact some trees cannot seed themselves without fire. But I digress.

Most fires are not caused by man as they would like you to believe, but by lightening.  WHEN A FOREST IS OLD AND OVERGROWN IT WILL NATURALLY BURN.  Man cannot stop it, we can try and control where we can, but we will never stop wild fire.

Firefighting, is dirty, nasty, very hard, hot, dangerous work. ( it can also be very cold at night)  These crews years ago could spend 20 hour days with a Pulaski ( a grub how with a hatchet on the other side) digging fire line.


  You dig until your arms give out and then wait a few minutes and start again.  Your hands blister and you wrap them in bandages and keep going.  You are fighting nature and she is a mean woman. 

My first memory with hubs, occurred when our eldest was about 5 months old.  Hubs was on a fire crew in the Seeley/Swan ranger district in Montana.  He had a small trailer that he staying in next to the fire station.  Fire fighters are gone for weeks at a time and back then there were no rules about how long or how many days they could be out.  I remember he finally got a break and called me long distance to come up for the weekend.  It was about 80 miles from Missoula where we were living.  I was packing up baby gear and got another phone call and I could here choppers in the back ground.  So no day off he was getting picked up to be dropped into the Bob Marshall wilderness.  He was gone 20 days and as it was wilderness they could be dropped in but not picked up unless it was for medical reasons.  They had to hike out.  Wilderness is protected by noise ordinances. This hike out about killed all of them.  I can't imagine working that hard and then having to hike 40 miles to get to a road to be picked up.  He still talks about it.

That same summer I managed to get up to see him and of course as soon as I got there with the baby the choppers were sounding.  It was like a scene from MASH. Men in  half gear running every where trying to make sure they had all their stuff packed and loaded.  Many had fire clothes still  on the lines and there was snatching and flurried packing as they headed out.  I will always remember how noisy those helicopters were, our oldest did not like loud noises. We only had one car so I had my dad take me up and I was stuck there unless I wanted to leave Hubs with no car, which I could have but while I was making the decision, bus loads of dirty men started pouring into camp.  There was a huge industrial kitchen there but no cook.  The big boss came to my trailer  and asked me to go check out the kitchen as they were desperate to feed the incoming men.  

Luckily I had grown up with a grandmother that owned restaurants and had worked in them.  I remember making stew and biscuits and coffee far into the night.  The baby was fine as she was passed around from fire fighter to fire fighter and always in my sight.  Then it was hotcakes, coffee, scrambled eggs and sausage the next morning.  I packed sack lunches for hours.  It became obvious that this was going to become a high incident fire.  I was asked to go get supplies as there was no one else to call.  The secretary at the land office watched the baby and I took a huge truck (the biggest I have ever driven) into Kalispell and it was loaded with groceries to the brim and then back to the fire station.  A new incident commander was flown in and there I was a 23 year old woman and a 5 month old baby in a huge kitchen surrounded by supplies. I stayed and cooked for 3 more days until a proper cook could be obtained.   I then stayed on as an assistant cook, and step and fetch it.  I cannot tell you how much laundry I did and how many loads I pegged out on wash lines to dry in the few weeks I was there. Men were sleeping out on the lawn in the shade of trees just happy to get some rest.  They would sleep and sleep for hours so exhausted. They would not wake up for meals, and they could sleep through the helicopters coming in.

 I did not see my husband for another month. HE was so surprised when he rolled into camp and I was still there. They added my hours to Hub's paycheck.  This was something that would never happen today.  They are much more organized at fighting fire now. 

It was a real eye opener for me, to see what these men went through.  It was good money, very good money.  Hubs was not employed most of the year those first 10 years of marraige, but he always was able to fight fire in the summer. I think he enjoyed it.  I think most long term firefighters love there work, as back breaking, dirty and dangerous as it can be.  Hubs never really told me any danger stories until after he retired.  I think he knew better.  More tomorrow.

I do think we have to appreciate these men and woman who go out and fight fire, it is an awful job and becomes more dangerous every year.

I have work to do and I had better get started.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.


Kim

 


33 comments:

  1. What an incredible reminisce. Yes, firefighters are unsung heroes. They should be paid a whole lot more for what they endure. And you did an amazing job keeping the troops fed. Glad you got paid too as well you should have.

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    1. It was an adventure, I just remember how spoiled our oldest got as she had unlimited attention and everything she did was raved over.

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  2. Coincidence you posted this - we are having hot temps here and a huge fire is just north of us at Mt Shasta. Living in a fire prone area we LOVE our Cal Fire and Fire fighters. You see signs all up during this time of the year, supporting them. All I seem to do lately is listen to the scanner for fires. They move so fast.

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    1. It is very scary and I am afraid it will get worse as the years go by.

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  3. Wow, I had no idea what firefighters go through, so thank you for posting. And many thanks to you and your husband. What a difficult and dangerous job!

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    1. It is difficult but he made terrific money and that is why they do it.na

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  4. What an amazing job you did. First of all being so young and with a baby. Wow. I bet they so appreciated it. Our good friends - husband and wife were fire fighters in the summer. They drove school buses and onion trucks the rest of the year but when fire season came around that was what they did. Luckily there was enough family to hand the kids off to when they were gone for long stretches. I really admired them. Take care.

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  5. I really enjoyed reading about the fire fighting Kim ... amazing to think how it was back then & so different now. I felt sad when I read that your Mum enjoyed the babies so much as mine does not & when she is here, she hopes they don't come to visit - so sad. We had a really bad house fire when we were farming & lost over half our things as well as two vehicles & this fire was caused by a lightning strike while we were not home. Sorry didn't mean to write so much - enjoy your day Kim. xx

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    1. My house burned when I was a senor in high school due to a sparkler throw on the old cedar roof by neighbor kids. I lost everything i owned but the clothes on my back. Very traumatic.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this story -- You are both heros!

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    1. Well hubs certainly is I was just along for the ride.

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    2. You were more than that; you fueled them and played a pivotal role in keeping them all going.

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  7. This post was so interesting and also kind of horrifying. To be dropped into a fire and have no means of getting out except hiking out is awful.
    I can't imagine how grateful they were to have you there to supply meals.

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    1. The men on that fire were furious. It was an awful experience for them. They no longer fight fire on wilderness lands. If it catches on fire it stays that way until it crosses into private land.

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  8. Thank you for the stories about your hubby fighting fires and how you played your part in supporting him. I read about the Lava Fire today near Lake Shastina and prayed right away that the firefighters will be safe and that God will put out the fires.

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    1. It is such an awful time of year although we love the summer. But we dread the fires.

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  9. Thank you for sharing those memories with us.

    God bless.

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  10. Wow, what neat memories. I have the utmost appreciation for fire fighters. I can not for a moment think about wanting to run into a fire. I have a nephew who started in a rural area in high school, training with fire and EMS. He went on to be EMS - then got hired on by the fire dept. He is now a Captain on his force. Still in his 20's. Pretty proud of the guy.
    PLEASE tell your hubs thank you for all he did and thank you for being by his side.

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    1. I think fire fighters of any kind are pretty amazing people.

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  11. Kim,
    You should write all these stories for posterity. He did much needed job and so did you. I am glad you could cook. I suppose they saw a woman and assumed you were able to cook.
    I am shocked they could save the forest and it could not be disturbed by noise to pick up guys working to save it! I hope someone has realized this was just so wrong!

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    1. Stupid federal rules. Those lands are no longer protected. IF wilderness catches on fire it has to put itself out.

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  12. Thank you for sharing this story, it was interesting to read. Tell your hubs thank you for all he has done!

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  13. Hi Kim,
    Thanks for your blog in general, and thanks for the fire fighting stories! My husband flew helicopters for five or so years for the forest service, flying hot shot crews, he loved it as well. Dangerous but he said there was great comraderie and sense of accomplishment. Now he watches the helicopters fly to fight the fires on Tv ;)

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    1. Hubs served on hot shot crews for many years, before he finally landed a job with the State of Idaho.

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  14. My old BYU roommate fought fire in Washington and Northern California during the summers when we were in college. She works for the Feds now overseeing fire fighting in Washington, I think. She lives in Washington. It is dangerous work. So much respect. I had never been around folks who fought fires until I went to school at BYU. Cindy in the South

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    1. It is dangerous and hard work and I have respect for anyone who does it.

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  15. It's a terrible job, and we should definitely respect & appreciate those who keep us safe & fight fires. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Wow... your story was amazing. What an interesting time! My uncle is a retired fireman, and one of my good friends from high school is a fire chief. Firemen are a special breed. Thank you both for being in the front lines.

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