Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Tragedy of Unbelievable Proportions

The Fire Chief of the Prescott Az.  Fire Dept. just gave a news conference announcing the deaths of 19 firefighters who were killed while battling a wildfire in AZ.

Fox News is reporting that the firefighters were part of the Payson/Granite Hills Hotshot crew and that they were killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in Central AZ.

 The Granite Hills Hotshots are an Elite Wildland Handcrew that is part of the Prescott  Az Fire Dept. It is reported that they lost most of their crew today.

Rumors and sketchy information abound, what we know for sure is that they are gone. It never seems to stop.

For a local newspaper article on the Granite Hill Hot Shots, click on the link. It was written a month or so ago and gives some backround on the crew.

Deepest condolences to those left behind.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lucky For An Unlucky Guy

He was lucky. Lucky someone found him. Lucky that the weather last week was relatively mild. Lucky that he just didn't freakin' die!

The guy that found him saw this and figured he had found a corpse.

Frankly, I kind of thought the same thing, but I KNEW he was alive, as I had heard the crews talking with him.

For some unknown reason, the man had burrowed underneath a shipping container at a local sports facility and had gotten himself stuck. Really stuck. Stuck there for several days stuck. He was unsure how long he had been under there, but thought it had been five or six days. The local rag said that a news release had reported that his condition was consistent with someone who had been trapped that long. Yikes!

Luckily for him, daytime highs have been in the low eighties. A person associated with the sports park had gone to the park to investigate the theft of some irrigation equipment and was checking out some adjoining storage containers when he spotted the trapped man. The witness called 911 after making contact with the man.

RFD responded with an engine and a heavy rescue unit. A Batallion Chief and a PIO were present as well. The dept. photographer might have been there, but you never know with that guy, he's a little shaky.

It was determined that removing the floor of the shipping container and pulling the victim up through the opening would be the best course of action. The crews then went to work.

It was a straightforward operation and the victim was removed in an expedient  manner.

The newspaper reported last night that the victim remains hospitalized in critical condition. I'm just guessin' that he is not out of the woods by any means.

Stuff like this was one of the many things that attracted me to my career. Ya just never knew what ya were gonna get!.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, June 14, 2013

Thanks, Google

Sixteen days left until Google pulls the plug on Google Reader. Like many, I have used GR for years to read the bajillion blogs that I like to peruse. Frankly, I am a little pissed that Google has decided to quit the project. It could be a pain in the ass for me and for a lot of people who like to read blogs, news feeds and othe RSS type stuff.

Now, the question is what the keck am I going to use to replace Google Reader? I have looked into a couple of options. One had promise, but it was a reader that was in beta test release. I don't think that I want to part of a test project. If it doesn't work, properly or isn't accepted by the RSS feed reading public, it may just go away. I don't want to go through switching readers again in a few years, I just want to find something that works and stick with it.

FEEDFLY seems to be a possible option. It appears to be an easy migration from GR and it appears that many who use it like it. There are those however who do not like it.

I am not yet sure what I am going to do, but time is running short. I would like to make whatever move I am going to make sometime before June 29. I no longer like making decisions under the pressure of time constraints, so I will try to stay ahead of this one.

Any ideas that you all might have will be appreciated.

Thanks, Google for bailing out on me.

Thanks to you  for reading,


Monday, June 3, 2013

Into The Light

A snap of one of the guys walking down the hallway of a mini-storage facility. I got lucky, I happened to be walking past the other end of the building when I looked up and saw this scene. I had time to crank off two shots before he exited the building at the other end. This was the second and the better of the two.
click to enlarge

I wish I knew who this was, I'd give him a copy. Maybe someone will recognize themselves and download it. It kinda seems like a wasted image if the subject can't use it!

Maybe I'll just print it. I like it and some of the stuff going on in it.It has some interesting patterns, some reflection, some geometric shapes and leading lines.

I'm glad this worked out OK, the fire was pretty well out when I got there. This shot kind of made the trip worth it.

It's a good thing that "B" shift jumped on this, mini-storage facilities can be a challenge. Threes was first in and a rather busy railroad stood between them and this fire. A 103 car train and this tale might have had a different outcome. Might have had some more exiting shots though.

Thanks for reading,


Burn. Burn. Burn.


The Saint I am married to and I made the trek into Los Angeles over the weekend to see the documentary Film BURN.

Burn is an independent documentary that examines the Detroit Fire Dept and it's struggle to protect it's citizens from the ravages of fire. Funding for the film was done through donations, private investment and merchandise sales, funding for distribution of it is still underway.

As most people know, Detroit is a city that is struggling to survive. Economic, political and cultural conditions have created a situation where the demand for fire protection has greatly increased while the resources needed for that protection have greatly decreased. Burn explores the impact of the situation, on the city, the firefighters and on the residents.

Though Detroit is by no means the only city going through these struggles, it is probably the largest. As this is basically a film about the almost unbelievable conditions present in Detroit, it spends a great deal of time exploring the human impact on several members of the DFD. From the outsider Fire Commissioner to a young firefighter, the human toll is laid bare for us to see.

Frankly, I expected a little more fire footage - though I understand the message the filmmakers were sending and the need to balance the subject's stories and the fire they fight. Regardless, I enjoyed the movie immensely and recommend that you see it if it comes near your town.  

For a list of upcoming screenings click here. This is a very well done film, it was well worth the ten bucks I paid for my ticket. BTW, the Saint I Am Married To enjoyed it as well.


Burn Burn

I am not a food sissy. I grew up in a barrio and have been eating spicy food (mostly Mexican) for most of my life. Though my lovely bride is Irish, she likes to cook on the spicy side of things. Some of her Hispanic friends think that her food is too hot. I think it's perfect.

Therefore, I was somewhat surprised at the heat I found in The Emporium Thai Resaurant. The Emporium is in Westwood, across the street from the venue where we saw Burn. I ordered Pad Thai, a delicious noodle dish. The waiter asked what level of heat we wanted in our meals, I opted for a five on the ten-scale, as did The Saint.

Wow, I probably should have ordered it as a four or maybe a three. If it was any hotter, I would have not been able to eat it. I started to "glow" a little bit as did my wife. Despite my discomfort, I could not stop eating it, it was so delightful.

I had eaten Thai food before and though I enjoyed it, I don't typically seek it out. After this delicious experience, we are going to explore some of the local Thai restaurants. Rest assured I am going to be a bit more conservative in ordering the level of heat in it.

If you ever get to L.A. and are jonesing for Thai food, The Emporium would be a great choice.


Burn Burn Burn

When we walked out of the Crest Theater after seeing the movie Burn, I looked to the North and saw a tremendous header looming up from behind the San Gabriel mountains. The column of smoke was ice-capping and it caught me by surprise. I knew that the Powerhouse Fire was burning near Santa Clarita (about 35 miles from where we were), but I didn't know how intensely.

Ice-capping is the phenomenon that occurs when the convective column from a wildfire breaks through the inversion layer and gains enough altitude to allow the moisture within the column to freeze. It kind of resembles the top of a thunderhead.

When you see it occurring, you know that extreme burning is present. You also have to be aware that when the column collapses, it will produce erratic downdrafts and winds as it collapses.

Regardless, when it's occurring, the fire is kicking ass. If I remember correctly, the Powerhouse fire went from  around 2500 acres to over five thousand on Saturday. It has been cranking ever since and is reported to be up to 30,000 acres as of this morning. IT'S ONLY JUNE!

Burn - See it.

Thanks for reading,