Thursday, September 25, 2014
King Fire Update
This fire has made history! At 8,002 personnel, it's the largest number of resources on a wildfire ever! It's now covering 95,347 acres and 43% contained. That's larger than the cities of Atlanta, Portland or Las Vegas. Today was the day of starting demobilization, the organized release of some resources (personnel and their equipment), however, some will be released to go to another fire that was started by human means yesterday afternoon by Lake Tahoe's south shore near Emerald Bay.
The good news is that there is a light rain currently falling over the King Fire area and, mostly likely, on the Cascade Fire, too. As long as the winds stay calm, firefighters can make very good progress in conditions like these. The King Fire did cross the lines where My Firefighter was last night, but they beat it back into submission.
Yesterday, the task force My Firefighter is on got showers for the first time in 4 days! They also got their first hot meal in 4 days. Up to now, they've relied on helicopter drops for "box" lunches that are frequently quite nasty. The fire is so large that it's divided into two command zones. The northern zone is run by the feds and the southern zone by the state. The state treats their firefighters much better than the feds. They get the camps and amenities set up sooner and have a better over all command. The feds finally started catching up yesterday, but today it's raining and My Firefighter and all the men who were on night duty last night and are serviced by the same spike camp, are out in the rain, trying to sleep. That's right - no tents, no sleeper trucks. He also lost cell phone reception but managed to get a message through to me on another cell phone with a different service provider, but that's now down, too. He did say they managed to get a roll of plastic from somewhere and were scrounging up some duct tape to rig something so they can set up their cots and sleeping bags and get some sleep without getting rained on.
This is a seriously rugged job! Imagine working all night on the fire line, which is seriously hard labor, then coming back to camp and having to sleep outside in the rain.