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Engine 32 was the first on the scene of a wildfire I reported this morning [View All]

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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 10:05 PM
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Engine 32 was the first on the scene of a wildfire I reported this morning
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I saw the smoke pop up at about 10:30 AM. I watched it and plotted it for about 10 minutes. When I was sure that it was smoke and when I had a position solution that I was relatively comfortable with, I called it in on the USFS radio net to Central Oregon Dispatch. The smoke was about eight miles north of the lookout in an area known as the "Potholes," which is infamous among firefighters for getting accurate positions because of the flat terrain.

I gave them a "dirty" position, and then fine-tuned it five minutes later: Township 21, Range 14, Section 11, NE quarter of the NE quarter section .. just off the 100 FS road spur. Dispatch assigned engine 32 to the fire. They called in about an hour later, at the scene (sometimes engines have to drive many miles and search for the fire location). Since engine 32 was the first on the scene, the engine crew leader became the fire commander.

The first thing the fire commander does is assess the situation and pinpoint the location of the fire (usually GPS) and radio in a report to the dispatcher. This is where I get nervous. How far off was my position fix? I knew that my boss was already on his way to the fire. But I also knew that engine 32 had not transmitted any radio messages about having trouble finding the fire.

The fire commander normally reports the exact position of the fire in either LAT/LON or TRS (or both) formats. When engine 32 called in his report, before they even started fighting the fire, he gave the fire details: "wildfire, in sage and Ponderosa pine, less than one-tenth acre, winds calm." Then the position: "exactly where the lookout said it was."

That doesn't happen often, and I'll probably be off a mile on the next fire, but my cap sure looks swell with its new plume!

On a lighter note: You usually get what you pay for ..

You get what you pay for, generally speaking. To support that statement, I offer two examples.

Example 1: I should know by now not to buy cheap kitchen gadgets in the grocery store or Target ("Good Grips" brand products excepted, but the Target in Bend does not carry "Good Grips"). Perhaps the shabby merchandise in Target's kitchen gadget section should be branded "Good Gripes." It was there I bought a funky, el-cheapo garlic press (which I use primarily to press ginger root). My first attempt at gaining mechanical advantage over a small cube of ginger root with the machine resulted in a fracture of the handle. Six bucks down the drain. Yesterday I went to the upscale kitchen store on Powerhouse Drive and bought a hefty, well-tuned garlic press .. fifteen bucks. The Porsche of garlic presses!

Example 2: In 1994 (or so) I bought a pair of Mephisto hiking boots at Nordstrom in Pentagon City. These were $450 boots on sale for $125. There was only one pair, and it was my size. They were the most comfortable boots I have ever worn. Well, maybe not as comfortable as my original issue all-leather US Army combat boots (those were great boots). Fifteen years later the Mephisto boots were a little too worn to bring out to Oregon. I studied buying another pair of Mephisto boots. The best deal I could find was $475 at

During that research I happened across the website of NuShoe in San Diego. NuShoe specializes in totally reconditioning Mephisto shoes and boots. They offered a major boot overhaul for $95. I sent my boots off the NuShoe in early May. My buds on fire engine 34 brought the package with my re-conditioned boots out to the lookout on Monday.

It's amazing. They look like new boots. They have new Mephisto soles, shiny uppers, new inside liners, and new laces. These boots are good to go for another fifteen years. Let's see .. $220/30 years = $7.33/year for boots. Even if I lose them tomorrow, I have less than $15/year for that period of ownership invested in these boots.

My old boots even smell new.

These boots are made for walking:

The lookout is a little brighter today, thanks to a sale at Pier-1 Imports:

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  -Engine 32 was the first on the scene of a wildfire I reported this morning DemoTex  Jun-17-09 10:05 PM   #0 
  - I've heard that Mephisto has a lifetime guarantee on its shoes.  Captain Hilts   Jun-17-09 10:11 PM   #1 
  - Take a bow, Tex.......  Tangerine LaBamba   Jun-17-09 10:12 PM   #2 
  - HI, KIDDO!  elleng   Jun-17-09 10:27 PM   #10 
     - Really?  Tangerine LaBamba   Jun-17-09 10:33 PM   #13 
     - Yup!  elleng   Jun-17-09 11:00 PM   #26 
     - Damn cool looking machine  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 11:03 PM   #27 
     - It's made by Zyliss. I recommend getting the jumbo size  jgraz   Jun-18-09 12:26 AM   #41 
     - Yep, beat me to it -SUSI, or ZUSI, or however the hell it's spelled is the way to go - got one years  kath   Jun-17-09 11:55 PM   #34 
        - Hi, kath!  elleng   Jun-18-09 12:26 AM   #40 
  - exactly where the lookout said it was  merh   Jun-17-09 10:12 PM   #3 
  - NuShoe does other brands too  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 10:20 PM   #5 
     - I will thanks  merh   Jun-17-09 10:22 PM   #6 
        - No, it's still condemned  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 10:25 PM   #8 
        - that be great if you have the time  merh   Jun-17-09 10:51 PM   #19 
        - Here ya go merh .. pics of the condemned hoist system  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 10:44 PM   #16 
           - I can make something like that and use the small hand crank  merh   Jun-17-09 10:59 PM   #23 
           - To be perfectly clear, lest anyone misunderstand what we do out here ..  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 11:29 PM   #30 
  - Good goin', Smokey! (Nice sunflowers!)  TahitiNut   Jun-17-09 10:19 PM   #4 
  - "... he can spot a fire before it starts to flame. That's why they call him Smokey....  havocmom   Jun-17-09 10:31 PM   #11 
     - I gotta be careful though .. Karma.  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 10:47 PM   #17 
     - Yup. "The Singing Woodsman" ... early 50s.  TahitiNut   Jun-17-09 10:55 PM   #21 
        - Great stuff! I'll email it to my boss for the ranger station.  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 11:09 PM   #28 
           - Me 'n the Nut should do a duet. You really need the tune for full effect  havocmom   Jun-17-09 11:27 PM   #29 
              - It would be worth the price of admission!  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 11:36 PM   #31 
  - Great news!  elleng   Jun-17-09 10:23 PM   #7 
  - Congratulations.  tabatha   Jun-17-09 10:26 PM   #9 
  - Contained and controlled at 13:15 PDT  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 10:58 PM   #22 
     - Great going - just in time.  tabatha   Jun-17-09 11:37 PM   #32 
        - If they do, and it was an accident, the perp will be billed.  DemoTex   Jun-18-09 12:00 AM   #35 
  - Really enjoying your lookout dispatches, DemoTex  supernova   Jun-17-09 10:32 PM   #12 
  - well done, sir  Tuesday Afternoon   Jun-17-09 10:35 PM   #14 
  - Cool on both fronts -- pinpointing the fire and the reconded boots.n/t  Gormy Cuss   Jun-17-09 10:37 PM   #15 
  - Way to go EagleEye !  dweller   Jun-17-09 10:49 PM   #18 
  - The Weather Channel said Monday (I was in the motel in Bend) ..  DemoTex   Jun-17-09 11:41 PM   #33 
  - Fascinating...thanks for the updates!  blonndee   Jun-17-09 10:52 PM   #20 
  - Time for a terrible joke:  Manifestor_of_Light   Jun-17-09 10:59 PM   #24 
  - DemoTex, I've read a couple of your posts so far about the lookout. LOVE IT!! Your tone in writing  Parker CA   Jun-17-09 10:59 PM   #25 
  - Thanks, Parker CA  DemoTex   Jun-18-09 12:10 AM   #37 
  - Good job  XemaSab   Jun-18-09 12:04 AM   #36 
  - Remember, the compendium of all this is my DU Journal  DemoTex   Jun-18-09 12:15 AM   #38 
  - From a retired medic to the lookout... GOOD JOB  nadinbrzezinski   Jun-18-09 12:16 AM   #39 
  - You rock, nadinbrzezinski  DemoTex   Jun-18-09 12:29 AM   #42 
     - Well I am enjoying your look out reports  nadinbrzezinski   Jun-18-09 02:28 PM   #48 
  - kR DemoTex, thanks for persevering in more ways than one, this is EXTREMELY cool  omega minimo   Jun-18-09 12:29 AM   #43 
     - It is extremely cool too that the Admin and Mods allow me to confine my posts in GD  DemoTex   Jun-18-09 12:35 AM   #44 
        - a public service on many levels -- and a throwback to other eras, eh?  omega minimo   Jun-18-09 12:48 AM   #45 
           - Absolutely! Bring him into to the fold!  DemoTex   Jun-18-09 01:08 AM   #46 
              - All right. Link to your journal and any other recs for the initiated?  omega minimo   Jun-18-09 01:16 AM   #47 

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