Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where there’s Smoke, there’s Firefighters

When we headed north to spend time in the fire lookout, things were pretty quiet around the fire camp with cool, wet weather.  But upon my return, things had done an about face.  Camp was bursting at the seams and there were about 5 helicopters flitting in and out on patrols and responding to smoke reports.  Two bomber groups were based nearby, and the fire hazard had climbed considerably.


But before all that we had to spend a little time at home to cut the grass and make sure  the house was still standing.


It appears that there were a few disagreements among the local deer population.


A lightning strike caused a fire to the west of the base, right near the boundary of Banff National Park.  It was discovered on July 3, and still shows up on the Alberta government fire map at 6,628 hectares, or roughly 15 thousand acres?  (Photos below are from local media outlets.)

There are some Youtube videos of the Spreading Creek fire as it has become known, here on Youtube.

In spite of all the action to the west, the fire lookouts I deal with still need supplies, so on my return it took a while to get caught up.


With all the helicopters at my base committed to fire operations, I had to look further afield to find an available craft.  A ‘212’ was available for this trip, and I even got to ‘fly’ it for a while!


Back at the Air Tanker base, 2 bomber groups are on alert to head for the next smoke, and heavy equipment sits waiting as well.


Other lookout servicing requires some scenic driving…


And some scenic flying …


And a look at some local wildlife …


Next post – rappel crews come to visit.


  1. I am glad there are people like you to look out for fires. I live with lots of tall cedars around my house and in fire season I always worry. So many fires are man-made and I just don't understand how that happens. Keep safe!!

  2. Wow your photos are fantastic. I sure hope they get all the fires under control.

  3. Last year we just got clobbered by major fires here in Colorado. We were watching the big tankers flying around all summer. A couple of the fires were among the worst we've ever had. We've been really lucky so far this year with a lot of cool weather and frequent afternoon showers. Good luck for the remainder of the summer.