Monday, August 29, 2011

Tumwater Canyon Fire, Leavenworth, Washington

Tumwater Canyon Fire, Leavenworth, Washington.

Well, our Montana summer has totally gone to doctors appointments.  I have had a release from my doctor in August, when my blood sugar and blood pressure reading both went down.  I guess all those cigars while fly fishing were not helping matters.  Wine consumption also had to be restricted, but fortunately not eliminated.

Susie was not as fortunate and is facing a round of physical therapy and a MRI appointment for sciatica nerve problem.  Some of the pills have transformed her into "chatty Kathy".  Do you measure age, by the number of pills you take??

In the midst of all this one little spark along Highway 2 just west of Leavenworth started a small forest fire.  So I went ahead and took the assignment.  The total fire cost was just over a million dollars.  Fortunately, it was a small fire.

The Columbia Type 1 helicopter did show up for a couple of days.  After all these years the Columbia has become a part of my fire "history".  Seems like on every fire, sooner or later she will be flying dumping water on the hot spots.  Maybe when the Columbia retires from fire duty so will I.

This was a Type 3 fire.  Much smaller than most fires I end up spending time working.  But it was along Highway 2 just outside the destination town of Leavenworth.

The fire team was lead by a "different" type of Incident Commander as you can see from the briefing photo.  She always stood on a rock so everybody could see and hear her.  She gave quick, incisive briefings and then the various divisions met to complete plans for that days operations. 

As Incident Commander on a smaller fire she did take the opportunity to cover the fire line every day and she dressed the part.

The interesting part of the fire is that it was along Highway 2.  This is the main travel route between Seattle and the tourist destination town of Leavenworth.  The highway was closed for a couple of days, but the Washington State Department of Transportation insisted on opening the highway.  So for a couple of days the traveling public got a up close and personal look at a forest fire.  Burning trees, firefighters in no-mex carrying tools and fire shelters.  Fortunately, the helicopters were no longer needed by that time so the traveling public did not have the additional distraction of helicopters dipping in the Wenatchee river.

No one on the fire team could remember a previous fire where flame and public were that close to each other.  No accidents.  And on Monday, the Washington Department of Transportation put up flaggers and blocked one lane so they could continue their work on the Highway.

I guess we all perceive risk differently.  That which is new to you probably never seems as dangerous as to someone that knows.

The fire was just east of the Lake Wenatchee area.  You thought I was kidding with my post on  Lake Wenatchee and the comment about biting bugs??  Well, check out this sign from Tumwater Campground on the edge of the Tumwater fire and the gateway to Lake Wenatchee country.  As always, click on photo to  enlarge.

The Montana summer plans have gone into Doctor's appointments.

Fishing and hunting season is just around the corner.  Bugaboo has his hunting haircut.  The fly rod is repaired.  We are now waiting on the final Doctor's visits and the cooler temperatures of September.

If your interested in the effects of the late spring on the plant and animal populations see my posting on the Camas Meadows Blog.  Under the August 29th posting....Summer, this time its different.


Donna K said...

Sure glad that fire didn't make it into Leavenworth...and that no one got injured driving so close to the fire.

Anonymous said...

We took off on two separate long trips..Idaho-Montana-then Idaho-Oregon..Hot Springs.Got back Monday, those damn skeeters are still here!!!