Firefighters in the Field: Updates from the Calgary Dispatchers
June was rainy and slow but we don’t put our time to waste. We constantly find ourselves busy with odd jobs around the office, which sometimes involves supporting other staff with their workload. One rainy week we were asked to make posters for the lookout towers in our district so we could have their faces around the office, so we got creative. We had received photos for all of them and decided that our plan of action was to make paper cupolas for all of them and put their photos in the window. It has been fun getting to know everyone as the summer goes on, and I even had the chance to hike up and visit our Ironstone tower on one of my days off. What a beautiful spot!
With the wildfire hazard being lower this month, the number of abandoned campfires has gone down thanks to our community being proactive, and ensuring that their fires are out. We rounded off the month with a parade in Coleman where some of our wildfire crew members joined Bertie Beaver in the parade to celebrate Canada Day. Throughout the month we have imported and exported crews for various wildfires or hazards as they occur. We also get the opportunity to support other provinces and territories with their wildfires, just as they have supported us. It’s always a fun time meeting new people, and people of other forest areas. So far this wildfire season has been great with our crews doing a fantastic job of putting wildfires out quickly and effectively. It’s been a great start to my dispatching career.
What did the adrenalin junkie say to the rainstorm? Seriously, though, trying to maintain a decent level of sanity in an organization that is used to going 100 miles an hour but isn’t at the moment, is a challenge. I am referring to myself most of all! Last year the Calgary Forest Area experienced weeks and months on end with an extreme wildfire danger rating, so with a rainy June it almost feels like we are at a standstill. You know, when it feels like you could get out of the car and walk faster!
I did take advantage of the low wildfire danger on the July long weekend to expand my horizons and join the Prevention team’s patrols in the Calgary Forest Area. What a great opportunity to see the operation from that aspect. I got to see the random camping areas that we hear about all the time, I saw the areas where our crews day base, and I experienced just how many miles of road do not have cell coverage. In the end, I have a much better concept of how difficult it must be to find and access areas we are dispatching our personnel to! The unintended benefit was spending the day in this stunningly beautiful area we call the Calgary Forest Area.
Until next time…nobody here but us chickens!