Friday, September 18, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The first image shows what life on the fire line was like circa 1777; oh how things have changed! The crew is obviously taking a well deserved break and likely eating lunch. In those days, the noon time meal consisted of a baloney sandwich, an apple or an orange and maybe a Hostess Twinkies or two. Yea, believe or not, we actually ate baloney and Twinkies! It's a time honored tradition to complain about fire lunches and being served baloney for several day in a row did little to break the cycle.
Today's fire fighter still complains about the lunches, but believe me, they are now light years past baloney. Meals are now planned to provide sufficient caloric intake to match the physical demands of the job. At most fires, vegetarians will also be provided with a meal suitable for their dietary requirements.
You might also notice how the old school fire fighters once dressed. In times gone by, we wore only cotton shirts and pants along with leather boots. Today, no fire fighter would venture into the burning forest without totally fire resistant clothing, AKA nomax, and a fire shelter that you pray will never be needed!
My final image is of every fire fighter's friend, the portable out-house. Now you have appreciate the fact that much of eastern Oregon is very rural and if a community exists, the resident population might not exceed a few hundred. When a fire erupts in the nearby forest, hundreds of fire fighters descend and require the most basic of services. During my career, I worked fires that had fifty or more of the portable "comfort palaces" on site. The man who serviced these necessities was among the busiest individuals one any fire. We were always glade to see him, especially on a hot day!!