Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Few Weeks in Review...

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 :)
The ICP was in Big Piney High School, a small town in south western Wyoming. The fire was very close to one of only three helium plants in the country.

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!

This is Mount Moran, graced by one of the twelve glaciers that dot the mountain range, and a lava flute that extends just higher than the mountain itself.

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.
Not one, but two bull moose, taking the edge off the days heat in the cool waters of the Snake River. Can you see both of them? What I found amusing, is that the junction where you turn off the main highway to get into the park, not a quarter mile away, is called Moose Junction! The settlement where all the park residents live a quarter mile down the road in the other direction, is called Moose, and the post office, a small single room building, boasts a sign "Moose Post Office".

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!
Recently on FaceBook, someone shared a picture of a fence. Not just any fence, but a knitted fence made of some kind of weather proof string. It is flat amazing.
The knitters FB page is 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.
Also still working on the last socks I posted about, its been so long now I'm going to have to go hunting for the heel pattern I used on the first one! Better late than never... right?


Laura said...

Fire Camp sounds like fun, for the first, oh, several days... I'm too old to sleep on the ground anymore!

When you posted the moose pix on FB, I was looking for fish!

I think the pattern used in the fence is a lace insertion, and you can find it in the Barbara Walker "A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns," on page 307 - Double Rose Leaf. I'm trying to figure out something to make with it in it, too!

Sharon said...

That sounded like something from my CERT certification course. What an experience - phew.