It's fire season again!
I was sent to Wyoming, as an expanded dispatcher, but this time, it was with a twist!
First let me explain an expanded dispatcher's job. Initial attack is handled by the people with radios. Generally, they deal with maybe one plane for recon; one or two wildland fire engines that generally are the first to see the fire from the ground and assess it; a couple of single resources (people), maybe a Fire Management Officer or an IC (also incident command but used as the title of the guy who's in command of the forces on the fire). When a fire gets bigger than what these few resources can handle, the initial attack dispatch calls in what is called Expanded Dispatch. We fight the fire from phones and computers, by entering the orders of everything the IC and other resources need to fight the fire on the ground into a program called ROSS. The Resource Ordering and Status System is used in tracking everything from supplies to people in an incident.
Normally, a dispatcher never sees an Incident Command Post (AKA, ICP). Normally, a dispatcher works about 12 hrs a day (sometimes 14 if things are really bad), eats in restaurants, and stays in a motel. At ICP everyone works 16 hours a day, eats under a caterers tent, showers in a portable shower unit, uses porta potties, and sleeps in a tent.
This time, someone came up with an idea that will most likely be implemented as a normal way to do things in the near future, because it really worked quite well!
At ICP there is a Buying Team, a team of people who, obviously, purchase everything needed to aide in quelling a fire. Normally, phone calls and faxes jump back and forth between a far away expanded dispatch and the buying team, who is generally located at the ICP, or at least in an office far distant from the expanded dispatch. In this case, a dispatcher (me) was set up in a room next to the buying team so I could input everything the fire ordered into ROSS, and immediately take the order to the buying team and viola! Done! No phone calls, no faxes.
So, instead of living in a motel with my own bathroom and bed, I had my tent and an air mattress :)
It was a good experience, one I would repeat in the future. As I like to say, I love new experiences, as long as they aren't painful.
After a week of that, the fire was virtually out and I was moved into expanded dispatch which was located in Jackson, WY. Jackson is famous for its skiing and for the Grand Tetons that tower, just 15 minutes away, over a valley from which the town gets its nick name, Jackson Hole. On my last working day there I was given liberty to take a tour of the Park. If you ever get a chance, the Grand Tetons are a magnificent site!
As I was coming into the park that morning, I saw three or four people
gawking at something under the bridge, but didn't stop as I wanted to
get on with my sight seeing, but when I left the park, about three hours later, there were hordes
of people gathered in the same place, so I knew I had to stop and lookee-loo with the rest of them. This is what had everyone's attention.
And you know, while I was there, I had to find an LYS, hoping they might have spinnables as well as yarn. No such luck on the spinnables, but the yarn store "Knit on Pearl" (which until its recent move was actually located on Pearl St in Jackson) did have a lot of nice books, and not wanting to leave without purchasing something, I settled on this. Lots of nice lacy projects in here!
here. I don't know if this picture exists anywhere on the web outside of FB, other than where people like me have shared it, but if I find out the knitter has posted it elsewhere I will link it here.
Someone asked if the pattern that she used was published and the Shetland Arts and Crafts FB page, who originally shared the photo with the community, linked back to this, a free pattern from Eunny Jang. I imediately thought of the alpaca top that I brought back from Texas last year, and am now in the process of spinning it in a lace weight to make the stole.