Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Work Camping

Or perhaps it is ‘camping at work’?  Either way, I have been hard at work, while still living in the wilderness in my trailer and my little side-kick Hailey.

We both enjoyed a little time at home, in the big house, with it’s unlimited showers, and stairs for one of us to race up and down while chasing plastic mice and imaginary prey. 

While at home last time, I noticed a mountain bluebird checking out the birdhouses on my driveway, but it was evident that the entrance was too small.  So I ran out quickly with my drill, and made the holes a bit larger.


I was pleased to see this time back, that a pair were obviously busy hauling nesting material into their new accommodations.

Close-up photo taken through my binoculars.  Sure wish I had Al’s camera gear ( and knew how to use it!).


It is supposed to be a 10 days on – 4 days off arrangement, but because of the fire situation, my last shift was 12-2 instead.  Because, just as I was making my last blog post, the winds were up, the fires were spreading fast, and two small villages in this area had to be evacuated. After several days the situation had moderated, and the residents were allowed back, but the fire still refuses to go out, and is still consuming a lot of resources and aircraft.

Just for a change on our return to work, we moved camp about 3500’ to the other end of the airstrip, filling up with water along the way.  Now we are further from the road, and have a bit more privacy, and a bit of a view.


And it wasn’t long before Hailey was checking out the new view – from the top of my work truck.


I’ve been out in the woods exploring a bit and found some fresh wolf tracks on a cut-line just outside camp, and some wreckage from a long-ago aircraft, from the days when the strip was still in use for fixed wings.  Today it is strictly a helicopter base.


In spite of the fires slowing down a bit, we still had 5 helicopters on the ground at supper time, but only two spent the night.

The view on my morning walk to work.


We had to open up another couple fire lookouts this week.  One of them was a drive-up mountain top location,


while the other was strictly fly-in.


Even though it is mid May, at this elevation there was still a lot of snow to shovel, so a whole crew was in order.


Our two taxis!


On my commute back to the Fire Base, I passed through a portion of the stubborn fire that caused one of the evacuations.

Orange strip is a retardant drop from aircraft.


Portable tanks are filled by helicopter to supply water for pumps.


Some of the heavy equipment haulers lined up near the fire.CIMG8970

Meanwhile more equipment is on standby for the next call.


This week we will be starting the first round of supply flights to bring food and water to the lookouts that have been operating for a while.  And, perhaps some new fires to deal with.  Maybe even some more overtime!


  1. You're making me jealous, used to spend all my summers working in that west country and sure do miss popping in to all the lookouts. We on occasion threw in fresh vegetables and a few recent newspapers so always received a warm welcome when we came to visit. Another thing I noticed was there was always more helicopters in camp at dinner time than there was working the job! :)

  2. Your just having way too much fun out there......:))

  3. Wow, what a view the the first few photos.

  4. Incredible! This is what I want to do when I "graduate" from working my 9 to 5. Great blog you have here.