Monday, August 29, 2011

Heli-bellies, Motor Fire flame, & ADD--yes, there is a connection =)

Biobabbler's man-on-the-scene snapped these shots of the Motor Fire Saturday, some of which were taken from outside his office. Fire was ripping. All this pics are pretty big, so click 'n' zoom = good.

1st. Heli-bellies

REALLY really big helicopters;
they can hold 3,000 gallons (US) of water,
and carry up to 20,000 lbs of stuff.


Bear mentioned, as we watched a video of a heli 
flying into a giant smoke cloud, 
that it takes some serious courage to fly into that.

Can't image it's pleasant, and I'd think all that heat
makes for some REALLY wonky air currents. 
Yikes. Plus, you know, can't see?!?
And a fire is not the kinda place you wanna crash land.

 If you click on this you can read  its number...

Seriously brave, hyper-skilled folks.

Props to the fire folks! Woo-hoo!

2nd. Flame-age

Predicted high this weekend was 110 dF.
Oh, my.
Can you IMAGINE fighting fire in 110 wearing
undies, Nomex, and big ol' fire boots?!? Yikes

I like how you can see the burned over area through the smoke.
And I like orange: fire pretty... =)

 Anyone gotta smoke? Note torching tree/shrub down low.

And staff...

3rd. Why I write about fire
  • to me, it's super interesting
  • fire is terrifically important in ecosystems (so is relevant to bio-babble)
  • people need to learn that fire is not "bad." Natural, lightning-ignited wildland fire (not sure that's the official terminology) is a normal part of nature, and super important for preventing catastrophic conflagrations, and helping native plants and animals do their thing (like, you know, persist)
  • the fire, the planes, helicopters, trucks, etc., are just FUN =)

And, a bonus, one-time-only benefit
when Mariposa was kinda burning up a few years ago,
was that there were SO MANY FIRE GUYS in town.

At some point the ratio of fire fighter to resident was over 1:1.
A veritable testosterone tornado,
sporting navy blue FIRE t-shirts.


Yes, I try to find the silver lining...

"She's so brave!" =)

 4. Fire update.

All sources for fire info are NOT the same.
 A solid source of info on the fire IMHO is Inciweb.

Right now it says,
"Crews made good progress on the fire throughout the night. The fire was most active on the east side. There were a couple of hot spots on the west side of the fire, other areas showed little activity. There was no movement on the north side of the fire. Air support continues to help support the crews as needed."

Well, that matches with my interpretation of the change in air traffic. 2 days ago we had at least 24 passes of slurry bombers overhead. Today very few, and they've shifted east. So I figure the most active part of the fire's shifted east and/or there's less air traffic overall (so it's calmed down a bit).

Re: Evacuations
"Mandatory evacuations: Rancheria, Cedar Lodge, Incline, El Portal Trailer Village and local Merced River Canyon Campgrounds. Mandatory Road Closures: Highway 140, from the Foresta Bridge west is closed, Incline Road, and Forest Rd 1S12. There is no estimation as to when the will re-open. Old El Portal is advised to prepare for evacuations, this is a pre-evacuation."

5. ADD and crisis management

My mom just watched a documentary on ADD,
and apparently it said that people with ADD are good in a crisis.

This is because they can switch into hyper-focus mode,
not a mental state as available to everyone, apparently?
They just kick butt and take names (not my mom's words).

Yeah, baby! =)

I have noticed in the few "crises" I've been in as an adult,
that I see some people around me freaking out,
and I just don't get it. Honestly.

The following, to me, is a no-brainer what-to-do list:
  • Stop everything you're doing and be quiet. Be still. Listen (frequently in the NPS this means to your hand held radio). Figure out what's going on.
  • Formulate a plan. Determine what's absolutely required for you to survive, and do that right now. And only that. In priority order, until you're done. No person or thing, no matter how manic-arm-flailing-freaked-out they are, is allowed to divert you from your immediate tasks. No exceptions.
  • Once that is done, you may now be in the way. If you know you are not needed, leave. Until you know whether or not you are required to help, be quiet. Be still. Listen.
  • If you are required to stay, and you got all the how-to-not-die stuff done for yourself, check in on other people. Make sure their how-not-to-die list is done. Then reassure them, get them snacks, drinks, etc., think up mindless tasks for them to do to keep them busy, calm, quiet, and out of the way. Cleaning is good, until you can think of something more useful.

In a work context where radios are involved, there's one more: Stay off the radio unless you are a required participant. In the example I have in mind, someone who should not have even been on the radio at all, was filling the radio traffic with squeaky panic.  I rolled my eyes and shook my head, mentally shouting "GET OFF THE RADIO!"

Way beyond annoying. Potentially dangerous, and the Chief Ranger stomped on it immediately.

In a voice we'd never heard him use before, he said "UNLESS YOU ARE LAW ENFORCEMENT OR DISPATCH, STAY OFF THE RADIO."

AWEsome.  =) That Chief Ranger was the man in a crisis. =)

 To me, this is all a no-brainer.

And, it's a good example of why I don't view ADD as a "disorder."
I think it's niche separation*.
Different people are wired differently, and are good at different things.

I expect people who work on fires, or similar fields,
and are good at it, share some of this wiring
to a larger degree than a random sample of folks.

I know one guy who was an EMT and he's super ADD.
Very smart, but man, a hyper brain. Very restless.
But he was great at his job. And he loved it.

These folks are very good at logistics-of-the-moment,
can adjust the plan rapidly to changing conditions,
have an affinity for adrenaline/excitement,
have high physical energy, esp. when in a stimulating environment,
and fast-firing brains.

Plan A not working?
They're ready with Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, in priority order, instantly.
No sweat.

Totally adaptive.

But, for sitting 8 hours in an office, not so much.

Just a theory. =)

Like I said, I think it's all niche separation.

Everybody's good at something.


 *in this instance, I'm talking about intra-specific niche separation. It diffuses competition.

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