Friday, March 14, 2008
Two very different Big Bear trips
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The first run up to Big Bear was to manage a Boeing Vertol. It was under exclusive use contract for the USFS, and we were dropping water/retardant on the Butler II fire with a 1000 gallon bucket (in contrast, our copter only drops 375 at most) It really felt as if all the San Bernardinos were going to burn down since we lost so much forest every day. Long, long hot days and cold nights.
The second trip was our family ski trip, exact same area. Lots of trees, snow, etc. You could see areas the fire had burned out, and they've thinned the remaining trees, but all in all it looked pretty good. I wish I had the presence of mind to take a pic at the same spot of the ski resort where all the hand crew's tents were set up. (That command post was Snow Valley. Our helibase was in Big Bear, 30 miles away) The picture of the fire at sunset was from the helibase. In the second pic it's the mountain on the far side of the lake, taken from the top of Bear Mtn ski resort.
Wonder where the big fires will be next year? Though I'd hate to see it burn, managing a copter in Hawaii would be cool....