Got sent to Idaho for a fire tour

Well fire season is here again and we got sent to a fire in Idaho about 4.5 hrs west of Missoula MT. Didn't really see that much action but we had a good crew and made the best of it. After 17 days the crew clocked 270 hrs
- Nissman


Don't fear we're on our way! Actually this was on our second day of the fire

Time loses all meaning when you're traveling for 19hrs straight crossing times zones and such. They told us it was dinner time so we ate (2am at a BBBB restaurant in Missoula MT) We each were allowed 14 bucks to spend but there wasn't one thing on the menu for more than $7.25 - pretty much a cheaper version of dennys

Was hot and dry. Some of the locals don't like smokey so much as you can see from the gun shots.

The crew scoping our assignment on the first day. In the morning the fire is usually quiet and then picks up during each day as it gets hotter and drier

You get to do lots and lots of hiking on fire. Getting paid to hike, what could be better. Gets a little warm wearing heavy nomex shirts and pants and carrying a heavy pack

Here is a shot of camp from a helicopter. Our tents are in the upper right hand corner. Was a medium size camp with about 800 people, food trailer/tents, showers, laundry ect...

This is our crew's tents at camp. You can see the fire burning on the horizon (about 20 miles away)

During the first few days we had some heat to deal with. Here is Lisa chain sawing up a hot snag that just fell so it does not burst into flames

In the afternoon on our second day things started burning good and we pulled out. The lookout tower in the upper middle of the smoke made it through this day and the lookout was back in there within a few days

Still in our second day, some group tourching

This fire had some real potential to really take off as our first few days were very dry but there was no wind so it would just burn small sections then die down.

Our entire division was pulled off the fire every afternoon for the first few days when the fire was burning more intensely. Here is our crew watching a big smoke column forming after we pulled off the line

Time to go home at the end of the day. It got cool at night (had frost on our tents most mornings) but no need to keep your bus this warm

Nothing smells better than the bus at the end of the day

Taking a break on a water pumpkin (portable tank) after hiking hose down a steep hill and then back up for another load

Gotta love hiking with a few hundred feet of hose

The terrain on this fire was very steep. Here we are laying some hose. We just keep attaching 100' sections till they tell us to stop. (we never got to the bottom, over 3000 feet below)

Whoops, missed that hot spot.

Those who saw together stay together

Well this fire wasn't the hardest one. We spent many hours "standing by", "hunkering", "holding", "shading up" and many other fire terms for sitting around waiting for other people to figure out what they want you to do.

Chicks with chainsaws are cool

Most of the real firefighting on this fire was done by helicopters due to the very steep terrain with limited access points. There were 10 or so heli's on this fire. Here is the Skycrane - Pretty much the biggest workhorse helicopter made. That hose that is dangling sucks up water out of a lake or holding tank (2000 gallons in 45 seconds)

The Sikorsky 61 (another big helicopter)with a water bucket

The crew catching some late day rays

Yup, that's me working hard

A nice sunset from camp. You can see the bulliton board where they post the days newspaper clipping and other fire articles. Portable sinks and the food trailer in the background.