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Country Discussion Topics
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Lucked out with the Lightning storm last night!
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Willy-N    Posted 08-06-2003 at 08:13:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Last night a big lightning storm blew in from the south. Watched it coming most of the day but when it got here it headed twords the mountians. It turned about 10 miles from us and the lightning was real heavy to. After it passed it came back off the mountians to the East. Guess mother nature spared us last night. One more comeing in tonight I got my fingers crossed because we did not get any rain out of the last one just a good light show! Mark H.


Hal/WA    Posted 08-06-2003 at 17:28:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
It went over Spokane about 4AM, with lots of thunder and lightning. But we got about another .1" of rain until about 6AM. I haven't heard of any new fires around here, but sometimes they take a day or 2 to get going. Hope not. Supposed to be more thunderstorms tonight.

The TV weather reporter showed a satelite photo of a cloud bank off the Washington coast that is swirling around and sending waves of clouds our way. I still think it is unusual to see this kind of weather in August. Sure am enjoying the somewhat lower temperatures though.

I suppose that the grain harvest was interrupted a couple of days. It looks like it is about half done around here. I suspect that it would have been a better crop if we had got our usual rain in June, but maybe there was enough from our wet spring and the fact that there was almost no run off of the moisture we got. Unusual year.

Good luck. I hope the worst is over for this fire season.


Willy-N    Posted 08-06-2003 at 18:03:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
I scored on a Class A Foam Eductor In/Line System and a Akron 1 1/2 inch Turbo Adjustible 30,60,90 & 120 GPM Nozzle off ebay for $122.49 they retail for around 850.00+ for the set. Been tring to get this set up for 2 years now and findly snipped it!! Now I can spray a Foam Mixture and save water at the same time. I get the Class A Foam for free. Mark H.


Hal/WA    Posted 08-06-2003 at 21:03:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Do you get the foam concentrate from your local fire department or DNR? I was under the impression it was pretty expensive, but foam really works well for some kinds of fires. If done right, the foam will stay in place and smother the fire as well as cool it. Neat!

Are you a volunteer fireman? If so, how much training does your department require before you can help on fires? Our local fire department used to be all volunteer, but over the last 20 years has become more and more a full paid department. They still have a volunteer component, but have trouble recruiting and retaining volunteers, I think mostly because of the extreme amount of training they require before you ever get started and because of the large time commitment they require of the volunteers, if they are to remain active. I think they require 200 hours (part of which is EMT training) before the recruit can go on any calls and require a bunch more training before they can go on brush fires. Most of the people that would be interested in being volunteer firemen lose interest fast when they hear about this HUGE amount of donated time. Fire fighting is not rocket science, mostly just using common sense and working hard.

The old volunteer department did most of what they are doing now and probably almost as well, but for about 10% of the budget the department has now. I think we were better capable of dealing with wildland fires then, with many more personnel, although their machinery now is much better than the junk we had. Of course taxes are very high. I think that the paid people (and they are well paid--almost $40k to start, with much larger wages with step raises and longevity), want to completely eliminate the volunteers. That makes their bargaining unit larger, and gives no alternative to the voters than to just keep raising taxes as their beauracracy gets bigger. The paid people make the rules and it seems in their best interests to make the volunteer requirements so rigid that no one volunteers anymore.

I just wonder where all this will go. I think I am way overtaxed now and will not be voting for ANY increases for the fire department the way it is. I think they are overfunded, overpaid and extremely top heavy.

I think a part paid, but mostly volunteer department could work and get the job done for a lot less money. But they have to get more realistic in the amount of time they expect a volunteer to donate. And they have to treat the volunteers right, not like second-class citizens.

Now I know that this fire district has a couple of areas that have become almost urban, with houses very close together, a number of apartment houses and retirement centers and some businesses. Those areas are immediately adjacent to urban, full time paid fire districts. It has been said that those people in the urban areas demand full time firemen. If so, then I say that those areas should contract with the urban fire departments, and pay the taxes that the urban fire departments get. Most of the district is rural, or rural becoming suburban. I don't think we should have to subsidize the urban areas of the district when the service we get (or want) is about the same as it always was.

Any ideas?


Willy-N    Posted 08-07-2003 at 08:29:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
I can get the foam thru our Volenteer Dept since it is used to put out fires in our area. I am a member of our Volenteer Dept and yes you do have to take a lot of training to do it. With more fire fighters getting killed in these fires it is being stepped up more too! Departments in town require more training due to toxic materials and more complicated equipment being used. Some areas are getting out of hand with fancy buildings and such. We are lucky it is still a good old boys setup and they do not blow the countie budget on us. We could use more equipment tho and less goverment waist on high priced leaders in these fires. They can blow several million on a fire supporting the personel who tell you what to do and plan things out but do not do the fighting! They get the best of rooms and food allowances. They can make $50,000.00 in one week just talking??? Mark H.


h    Posted 08-07-2003 at 18:18:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
No kidding! The district I am talking about currently spends nearly $300k on wages for their chief and 3 deputy chiefs. And benefits add about a third to that cost. I just cannot believe that 3 deputy chiefs are justified.

Of course they also have a bunch of lieutenants, who actually do some work and are the real supervisors. They too are well paid.

I am mostly interested in a good response if there is a fire that really gets out of control and threatens multiple houses. With our more than 100 volunteers years ago, we did pretty well at containing most of the fires before they got any buildings. A number of volunteers owned their own brush rigs (farmers set up to burn bluegrass straw) and were a welcome sight at fires. Now that burning is not allowed, I don't see the farmer brush rigs. I worry that the much smaller "professional" department would have a real problem if we had a big one. Of course then and now, mutual aid is the only thing that ever gets those fires stopped. And in a big threatening fire, lots of people informally volunteer quite effectively.

Can a big boss really earn $50k a week? That seems incredible. An old friend of mine is retired from DNR and is working as a high boss on some fires every summer. Maybe he is REALLY supplementing his pension. He is a good man, who was very successful on fires for DNR for a career, but I doubt that he ever earned much more than $50K salary per year when he was working.

Good luck--hope you don't have any more big fires and the ones you have can be controlled easily. Hal


toolman    Posted 08-06-2003 at 09:47:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
we got some rain overnight and a bit more this moring, clear now but cooler, had lightning too a couple of news fires started but haven,t heard much more on them yet, rain is sure welcome , supposed to be more lightning in the forecast here too.


Cindi    Posted 08-06-2003 at 08:51:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
You must be sittin' around about half the time chewing your nails to the quick.

We're lucky, we're getting a crap load of lighting but we're also getting drowned at the same time. There's enough standing water around that you couldn't get a fire going out there with gasoline and a match, much less an errant lightning stirke.

Now last year was another story, hot as the devil, dry as a cobb, heat lightning a daily event about dusk. I practically slept with the water hose in my hand. I feel for you.


Willy-N    Posted 08-06-2003 at 11:12:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi it is more like come on lets get this over with! I do like when the fire season ends!!! That way I can look forward to the snow again! Mark H.


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