Thursday, August 05, 2010

On Assignment

My 1st assignments have happened finally and so off I've been! My 1st assignment sent me over to the Klamath National Forest for some lightning fires. This was going back home for me and I got to see the family and even stay at home. YAY!! When I go I work in whats called expanded dispatch. We have computers and when the incident commander requests resources (like engines, handcrews, overhead) we use the computer to find people either in the forest or anywhere in the country and they travel to the fire to do their specific job. These jobs range from dispatch stuff, engine crews, handcrews, time recorders, safety people, etc.

Yreka Dispatch and everything that handles fires are some squared-away group. When I showed up everything was in order and transitioning into work-mode was easy and seamless. The group working was made of retired folks as well as regular employees, and totalled about 5-6 people in expanded. Usually one handles orders for overhead, one for crews, one for crews, and one for supplies. The aircraft desk usually handles aircraft orders.

Fires in California can always be found at http://www.inciweb.org/state/5/

I was there for 5 days, travelled back to Fortuna, got home at night, reported to work (regular day) the next morning and by noon was off to another assignment.

The next place I went, and still am here, was in the Plumas National Forest. I was staying in Quincy. The fire was called the BAR fire and was in the Feather River Canyon. Beautiful country out here. Quincy's hotels have much to be desired and the room I've been in is, to put it nicely, is 'intersting'. Really interesting! The fire is slowly wrapping up and we've started the demobilization of lots of resources.

The awesome part about going on assignment is, of course, the overtime. Assignments mean 12 hour days and I've worked 6 of my days off which is all OT! WOOT! Hopefully 4-wheel transportation is not far away! Not sure how much longer I'll be here, my guess is couple more days until almost all resources are released. The computer program we use is called ROSS, Resource Ordering and Status System. Anyone in the Forest Service is in this system, complete with their qualifications and TONS of other information. The program is really expansive and makes ordering resources for small or large fires easy and makes it easy to track all the different resources coming into a fire.

Semi-anxious to get home and have at least a few days off, its been awhile since I've had a day off now, couple of weeks now. Well gotta get back to work and hope anyone who sees this is doing well and staying happy. Love ya all!

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