Thursday, August 18, 2022
The McKinney Fire is mostly out and contained. It was a a nice way to ease into the beginning of fire season, as we had such amenities as a base camp with a chow hall, cell service and charging stations, showers and laundry.
There were still many hazards we had to be cognizant of including “rollers” (boulders and rocks that can roll down steep inclines and take you out), “snags” (standing burnt trees that can fall over), “widowmakers” (hanging broken tree limbs) exposure to carcinogenic flame retardants, and various pests such as fire beetles: bugs that are attracted to wildfires and bite.
Fire beetles are attracted to hot burnt wood because they like to lay their eggs in it, and that they swarm, bite and crawl inside clothing, particularly in the collar. Heat exhaustion was also a factor and there were a few heat cases. I came close to heat exhaustion on one occasion as we were moved from the elevation of the mountains down to the semi arid desert climate in the Yreka valley and it took some time to become fully acclimated.
Today we are dispatching to another fire. In all honesty, the hardest part of this experience is being away from my son. I keep his favorite toy of his hero Bruce Lee with me on the fire line…