Cool. July 10, 2008
Dude. I'm having such a good time.
I'm working in an expanded dispatch center which is running resources for four federal complexes, plus a bunch of state fires. A complex is a name for a group of fires. Each complex is made of 20-30 individual fires. So my team is working on around 125 forest fires, all started by dry lightning that occurred three weeks ago. Seriously, wow.
Every single thing they have to work with on those fires came through this center. Their personnel: the firefighters, the management, the helicopter crew members, the radio operators, the prison crews, the hired hand-crews. Their equipment: the engines, the hoses, the airplanes, the chainsaws. The supply: the computers, the port-a-potties, the food, the paperclips. Also: travel to and from, hotel stays, ground support for getting people from all over the country and the world TO each fire where they need to go. It's kind of like party-planning for a really awful, enormous party which requires really big toys.
It's mind-boggling. And this is only for a small fraction of the fires burning here -- there are other tens of other expanded dispatch centers in every national forest district, in different counties and areas of California.
(Don't tell the people I'm talking to all day on the phone, but I'm on the coast. It's cool here. They're battling with pulling the bugs out of their fax machines that are run on generator-power, sweating in the 114 degree heat, and we're out here comfortable in the all-day fog. And while what we're doing is important and vital, what they're doing is scary and necessary and amazing, so props to them. Mad props.)