Pining Away Over Smoke

It’s not workable to wear air packs at wildland fires, but you can usually stay out of the worst of the smoke if you’re careful. I wasn’t.

Sunday we responded to a fire that burned into a field and a pine woods. After getting the brush truck stuck (my 4WD success ratio sucks) I ended up in the woods, and underestimated the amount of smoke while working my way to the front of the fire.

It wasn’t too bad … except it appears that one of my many allergies is pine trees, and the smoke was from burning pine wood and needles. I spent all day Monday with a sore throat, raspy breath, wheezing, irritated eyes, and itchy skin. It was like watching a political debate. But I slept through most of it (the allergies, not the debate—well, the debate too), because that’s what Benadryl does to me.

So from a “routine” ground cover fire I got smoke inhalation, while another firefighter had singed hair, and a third a cut head. What lesson do we take from this?

You never know what’s going to go wrong. Not an original lesson, but still.

500E 500N field fire photo grassfire--AFDandKFD.jpg
No, not the same fire, Emily took this a few years ago … I was busy both times.
Share this Post:

4 thoughts on “Pining Away Over Smoke”

  1. A couple of my wife’s uncles who are firefighters insist that fires have personalities almost like living entities: some are more stubborn; some are sneakier; some are meaner. Sounds like this fire fought dirty.

    1. Well, you wouldn’t expect them to use allergies as a weapon!

      It does seem that way sometimes, although I have to wonder if the failure this time wasn’t with me rather than the fire. I probably should have retired a few years ago, when I found out how many different things I was allergic to.

    1. You’re welcome … but I gotta tell you, I’ve been thinking more and more lately that it’s a young man’s game. This July I’ll have been doing it for 35 years. I’ve got the aches and pains to prove it.

Comments are closed.