You have probably read and seen on TV about the forest fires in Montana and Idaho. Until you see it first hand, you really cannot get a feel for the amount of effort that goes into fighting these fires. I was fortunate enough to be in the Darby, Montana area and Clarke spoke with Forest Hayes---what an appropriate name!
Forest Hayes explains to Clarke how they fight fires in the West.
Hayes is one of the Information Directors on the scene. The pictures of the burned trees you see are from a previous fire in 2002. The pup tents are where the fire fighters that come from all over the United States sleep. The larger tents are the headquarters for fighting the fire. Some information you might find interesting.This fire started on July 31, 2007 and these pictures were taken on September 7, 2007. Lightning was the cause and they actually had 3 fires at one time in different areas they were trying to contain. Today there are 266 firefighters working on the fire. There has been 60,000 feet of fire hose used. The containment area now is 27,800 acres.
These are the pup tents where firefighters sleep!
Smoke jumpers are often used, like Marines. They are the first ones in and try to contain the fire at the beginning but only if the conditions permit. In this fire, they were not used because 200 acres were already on fire. "Hot Shot" teams (sort of Top Guns of forest fire fighting) are called in. The first team on this fire was from the Southeast District, meaning, they called in the Southerners first.
The burned trees are from a fire in 2002.
Firefighters work 12-14 day shifts starting at 7 am. Keep in mind that it stays lighter longer in this part of the United States. A firefighter's lunch is 3000 calories!
Note: The head of the entire operation---The Operation Chief---is a woman! (probably from the South!)