Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring may, finally, have arrived … maybe

And so has May, so I guess it is well past time to update the blog.


Spring has still been making a very slow and reluctant arrival in these parts.  But bit by bit the snow has been melting in most areas with only a little fresh stuff now and then Winking smile.

The fire base was officially opened when the rookie fire fighters raised the flag while singing ‘O Canada’.


Most of my time has been spent in and around work – a bit of a change for a retired guy!  I wasn’t long before the first helicopter of the year stopped by for some fuel.  While on the ground, the crew watched a lynx casually cross the end of the strip. Lots of deer around, and I have also seen moose crossing the air strip.


The fire lookouts and towers are slowly coming online in preparation for the summer.  Although the snow in the photos makes it look like there is no chance of fires yet, the crews responded to 3-4 fires in one day recently, not to mention the large grass fires just outside Calgary.

A couple of us had to make a run up to one of the towers recently to deliver some new maps and supplies.  It was a bit of a struggle and we had to chain up to make it.  The lookout staff were already on duty. Because it is on a mountaintop, the place is shared by a variety of other communication towers.


Later, we stopped by at the tanker base, where two of the Electra bombers were waiting for action.


The crew was nice enough to let us look around onboard.P4277732P4277733P4277735P4277738P4277743P4277744


The final day prior to days off it was time to open another lookout tower, this one with no road access.


Empty propane bottles were flown out and new ones were slung in.  Most of the power required is now supplied by solar with a small generator for backup.  Most lookouts have telephones and even e-mail access now!P4307785P4307788P4307817

I climbed the tower as part of the inspection and opening process, and installed the line used by tower lookouts to raise and lower gear that is difficult to carry up the ladder.

A view of the helicopter on the pad, taken from the lookout tower.P4307823

And, arriving back at the fire base – ready for some days off!



Another sure sign of spring – fresh grizzly and wolf tracks in the fresh skiff of snow overnight.


1 comment:

  1. NIce country around those towers, a couple of them I have been up to both on the road and with a chopper back in my working days. Someday around a fire let me tell you my stories about what it is like to be bombed by those water bombers. Over the years we had a couple of interactions with those guys and luckily no one was hurt or killed.