The photo shows the last bit of smoke from the Teare Creek Fire, which we had several weeks ago.
I worked 23 years for the BC Forest Service and during all those summers there were often forest fires that we had to deal with. Usually, when there is a news story about forest fires, you are shown video of fire fighters, out in the bush physically fighting the fire, but you never see all the behind the scene workers who are spending hours and hours supplying the equipment to all of those fire fighters.
During my Forest Service years, whenever there was a fire, I was not on the frontline, but usually ended up working in the warehouse, issuing equipment to the crews, who needed pumps, hoses, polaskis (an axe-like tool that was also like a hoe), “piss tanks” (metal water tanks, worn like a backpack, with a hand pump to spray water), chainsaws, fuel, lunches, silverware, camp stoves, disposable sleeping bags, tents, blankets, hard hats, you get the idea.
Here is what one of my weekends was like during a fire in 1985:
During the first weekend in July, I found myself on “standby” again and was the designated fire backup person. That meant that I was “on call” and had to be ready for a callout if there was a fire. As luck would have it, there was one; the “Tar Fire” (fires were always named after their location) and this one was more than an hour west of town at Ptarmigan Creek.
I was notified that I had to be at the Forest Service “Cache” (warehouse) at 5:15 AM on Saturday, to send fire fighting equipment out to the fire. I did drag myself out of bed to be there, and the same sleep-disrupting schedule dogged me for the next four consecutive days.
On Sunday, not only did I have to get the same insanely early start to the day, but during the day I had to make two trips out to the fire, hauling equipment to the fire crew. It was an exhaustingly long work day of thirteen hours, but because it was on a weekend, I earned double-time which I could take as either pay or time-off.
On the Monday, my last day of being on standby, I was again at the cache at 5:15 AM, but as it ended up, all I had to issue to the fire fighters was a handful of spark plugs. It hardly seemed worth my having to get up at 4:30, but that was what they needed.
The following day which was again very hot (33°C, 91°F), I was tasked with hauling four barrels of Turbo-B Aviation Fuel for the helicopters, out to the fire. After delivering and dropping off the fuel, the fire crew loaded the truck with the fire camp garbage, which I was to drop off at the dump on the way back to McBride.
At the dump, a Caterpillar tractor had just spread a foot of loose sand along the edge of the pit and when I backed the truck to the pit to throw in the garbage, I got stuck in the loose sand. I tried to winch myself free, but the winch burned out, so in the end, I had to radio to the office to send someone out to help me get out.