I'm talking about good old smokey the smell from a fresh brush fire like the one I got sent to on Sunday when I was supposed to be running SNG for sports.
The Dodgers won on Saturday night and that cancelled out the Sports Department's SNG needs. I volunteered myself back over to news because I wasn't about to easily give up a day of overtime. Nosirree, buddy.
A day of VOSOT patrol would suit me fine and you never know when something big might break. The assignment desk could actually still toss me into a SAT truck on big enough breaker.
As it turned out, I didn't get the big breaker, but I did get the brush fire that burned over in the Sepulveda Basin area near the Sepulveda Dam.
Pretty dam cool.
Most of the fire activity was happening on Burbank Boulevard just North of the 101 Freeway and a little West of the 405 Freeway.
If you were driving in the area around 2:00pm, you couldn't miss it. As I was driving towards it on the 101, a plume of grey smoke was clearly visible.
Here's a little (maybe obvious) fire tip. If you see smoke rising from a brush fire or a structure fire and it's black, the fire is still burning, If the smoke is grey or white, the fire fighters have nearly put it out.
That's not to say the fire couldn't flare up again from a hot spot or smoldering embers, I'm just saying I know my chances of shooting some flame is less likely if the black smoke is gone.
After being sent the long way around by police officers, I made it the area where the fire was still burning. I quickly jumped out of my van, set up my tripod and as quickly as I could, started rolling.
The water dropping helicopters were coming in for a pass and I could see one tree fully engulfed. Good luck and bad luck for me. The wind was pushing the smoke directly towards me and I could barely see anything through my lens.
As I fumbled to get a white balance, the helicopter was flying in low for the drop. The blades drowned out pretty much everything else as it swooped in and dumped a ton of water on the tree that I was hopefully shooting through all the smoke.
The tree was extinguished and a fine mist of water and ash got blown towards me. Yes, yuck.
Not enough water to make me break out the rain gear, but more than enough to dirty up my lenses.
It felt good being out in the field on a weekend day. There's a different vibe that probably comes from the smaller staffing levels. It's was also good to actually be out and getting my hands dirty. Even on the small Sepulveda Dam Fire and the couple of b-roll shots (for other stories) I picked up later in the day, It felt like I was out covering the news.
Everybody knows, that hasn't been the case this year with all the training I've handled.
So there you have it. It was a beautiful weekend and I hope everyone enjoyed their Sunday afternoon. If it's having dinner with family, relaxing in front of the TV, reading the paper or a good book; whatever makes you happy, I hope you enjoyed yourself.
Even with the folks back at the station avoiding me because I absolutely reeked of smoke, I don't mind saying, I dam sure did.
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