Monday, November 17, 2008

Once More, Into The Fire.

My thanks to everybody who took a moment over the weekend to encourage me to "be" safe while out covering the fires.

I tried. It worked. I'm safe and sound and my equipment is safe and sound. Well, it was when I handed off the truck this morning. No telling what's happened since then.

I'm just kidding, I'm pretty sure the early morning crew ran into no more trouble than we did on Sunday.

Yeah, about Sunday.

The day started out normal. Load up, head for one fire, get turned around to go to another fire. I wound up in Placerita Canyon where I met up with Reporter Randy Paige and Photographer Rob Pearson.

While driving to find a location for our first liveshot we were collateral damage in a foscheck drop.

It wasn't a direct hit, but I was out of the van trying to get the SNG truck ready when I felt the fine misting.

Silly me, I was focused on getting our gear fired up and getting on the air. I really thought we were getting sprayed with water. The spots on the windshield? Those are little drops of foscheck. It was also on my hat and my clothes.

No big deal, occupational hazard.

A couple of live hits later, we were on the move to try and find a water tank that our reporter had pointed out during the liveshot.

It was a good try, but our vehicles just weren't up to making the drive on the goat trail road leading to the tank.

On to Plan #B.

We made our way up to probably the highest point in the hills surrounding Placerita Canyon. Be it ever so humble, this transmitter hilltop became home base for the next ten hours.

Photo by Rob Pearson

I was running the smaller SAT truck and that worked out great, because I didn't have to wrestle with trying to put either of the big trucks into a safe position. We had plenty to worry about with the smoke and ash as it was.

Fire had already burned one side of our hilltop home before we arrived. Other sides were slowly burning and was flaring up from time to time. Having the firefighters right there with us made me feel safer, but I had the SAT truck pointed in the right direction in case just in case things got out of hand.

Now, "out of hand" is a relative term when there's an uncontained wildfire burning all around you.

In the middle of all the controlled chaos, we did live satellite shots that updated people on the status of the fire and maybe put a human face on the people involved.

For me, it was a long day and a long weekend. I saw so much more than I have time to write about. I'm just glad for the break that I'm getting before heading back into work later today.

My body aches, I'm sounding raspy and I'm still worn out from back to back long shift WDO's (that's a work day off in union-speak). After so many months of trying to adjust to a more frugal work reality, it feels pretty odd to have just mowed through an entire weekend on the clock.

I'm not going to question it, I'm just going to head back in for some more.

Happy Monday everybody. Let's all "be" safe. It's still a pretty dangerous world we live in.


Horonto said...

First picture looks like something out of Lord of the Rings.

Stay safe B man.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bryan!

It's crazy how you put your life at risk to inform people of the fires. Thanks so much!
And the pictures are really good. I hope I can be out there one day too. Be safe out there.

beFrank said...

horonto - Yup. That's Middle Earth. Westside Middle Earth.

beFrank said...

anonymous - It's all perfectly safe. Well, if you don't go anywhere near the fire to do your liveshots. otherwise it's completely insane to be out there with things burning.