April 7th, 2015

Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights

Pining Away Over Smoke

It’s not workable to wear air packs at wildland fires, but you can usually stay out of the worst of the smoke if you’re careful. I wasn’t.

Sunday we responded to a fire that burned into a field and a pine woods. After getting the brush truck stuck (my 4WD success ratio sucks) I ended up in the woods, and underestimated the amount of smoke while working my way to the front of the fire.

It wasn’t too bad … except it appears that one of my many allergies is pine trees, and the smoke was from burning pine wood and needles. I spent all day Monday with a sore throat, raspy breath, wheezing, irritated eyes, and itchy skin. It was like watching a political debate. But I slept through most of it (the allergies, not the debate—well, the debate too), because that’s what Benadryl does to me.

So from a “routine” ground cover fire I got smoke inhalation, while another firefighter had singed hair, and a third a cut head. What lesson do we take from this?

You never know what’s going to go wrong. Not an original lesson, but still.
500E 500N field fire photo grassfire--AFDandKFD.jpg
No, not the same fire, Emily took this a few years ago ... I was busy both times.