Friday, June 26, 2009

Fire = Fun

The other day, our crew was assigned to participate in a prescribed burn near Tooele, UT. We drove down early Wednesday, geared up, and waited for everyone else to get ready. A couple engines were also assigned to assist us in the operation. Most of our crew was assigned to Ignitions (equals fun), and some, along with the engines, were assigned to Holding (equals not fun). Basically, Ignitions, lights all the fire and Holding, stands in smoke and heat all day and makes sure no fire crosses the containment line. Since we're hotshots and hadn't seen fire in a long time, it seemed natural that we would just try and get the fire as big as possible because. This created small containment issues for the holders, but that's ok, because the ignitions team had a great time (I'm on the ignitions team). The holders spent most of the day running around, chasing spot fires that crossed the containment line, while the igniters watched as theircreations torched out clumps of junipers in about 30 seconds. The fire wasn't actually that big, although non-firefighters might think so. To give you an idea, the flame lengths off of some of the junipers reached 50 to 75 feet. I've definitely seen timber stands burn with flame lengths of 200 to 300 feet. When that happens, the only thing you can do is sit back and watch the show. Anyway, the burn was fun and functional as it allowed for some of us to train the new guys in firing operations. I've included a link to a news story that KSL Channel 5 did. I saw them flying around so maybe i'm in it and maybe i'm not. All yellow shirts look the same from the air.

The crew circled by our buggies, waiting for a briefing.

The engine freaking out after we got the junipers to torch. It was funny.

Chris walking out after lighting some fire.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kennecott Copper Mine

SLC, UT - I took a trip to the largest open pit copper mine in the world, just outside of SLC. It was my day off, so i rode my motorcycle up to check it out. They offer tours, but they don't allow motorcycles. The lady was nice and told me that a separate road actually wanders around and ends up looking down into it. It. Is. HUGE!!!! I'll post some pics. If you look closely, you can see some big dump trucks. THey're not so much big as they are Gigantic. They are about as wide as 4 lanes of traffic, so just take that into account when you're looking at the the big picture. It was a fun ride too. Really curvy. Really fast. :)