Got to do something that I am good at and that I thought I was out of shape for for like forever! Sitting at home yesterday afternoon moaning and groaning when I get a call from the local Fire District. Seems there is a fire over in the canyons on the other side of the range and it’s in an area where there is NO cell coverage. Problem is that they need live Weather Support so need the Internet. Could they do it the old fashioned way, hell yes but with the live data is a hell of a lot safer.
There is a plan in place around here for stuff like this consisting of some buried cables and towers but no active equipment on them. Trouble is none of them have a line of sight into the canyon in question so the Signal Brigade is going to put a repeater truck out at the mouth of the canyon but, the Fire District is responsible for getting them the feed to repeat.
Anyone care to guess who is the resident expert on this plan? Didn’t think you did.
So we talk with the guy from the local cable outfit about what we need from them and he offers to drive up to the tower in his two seater hunting ATV. We bolt the gear on the back tray (I refuse to call it a bed) and get to the tower in the smoothest ride I have ever had to that location. While he is getting his end ready (signal and power) I get the security gate around the base of the ladder out of the way and up this fucker I go (I did stop twice just to breathe).
I get to the top and pull up my gear pack and antenna. About 10 minutes lqter I am on my cell talking to the active duty guy and the truck and we a lining up the shot. Another 10 minutes fumbling with aim and we got 48 MB throughput which is as good as we are going to get at this distance.
Come back down and secure the tower and proceed to the Command Station for the Fire District (which is about three blocks from my place) a cup of coffee and a chair to listen and watch the data. Data is good and the guys on the Hot Shot team are using the Skype apps on their cell phones to talk. By 8:30 PM they reported 75 % contained and at 10:00 PM 100 %. At this point I tell the Chief that the young punks will be back in town Monday night so after the 24 hour after check period they can pull the active stuff down Tuesday morning some time. Everyone agrees and I start to get up to go home.
At that point my body informs me with great clarity DUMB FUCK YOU ARE TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT! I almost fall on my damn face and it takes me about 10 minutes to work the stiffness out to where I can walk to the car. Get to the house and spend about 30 minutes in my full length back heating pad (plus 600 mg of Ibuprofen) and I am back to quasi-normal.
So I sit around catching up on some DVR’ed shows and I finally think what the hell it’s so damn late I might as well write about this.
At least the young punks at the Fire Station got a laugh about the old man. I also realized I can still do shit I thought I could not anymore. I guess I am like a old calvary horse, when I hear the damn bugle I am gonna go!
Well, they are still listing it as contained as of 4:00 PM but problems loom. Contained means they are just keeping it from spreading and letting it burn out with over half of the perimeter still slurry ( air dropped anticombustant chemicals) lines which are quite good in these weather conditions. Plus, there is damn little grass up there this is a wood fire.
Now the bad news, the forcast is for strong winds from the WRONG direction. The check period has been extended for 72 hours and more Hot Shot teams and tankers are enroute. I might be asked to activate a second tower late tonight. I hope not more for the safety of this area than the pain that might follow. I will keep you posted as I fear the crap out of the possibility of anothe Monument Fire type event.