Tuesday, July 16, 2013

R&R was Dominated by Fire

It's 4:00 am, and I'm drinking a cup of strong coffee, preparing to start my day.  In a couple of hours I'll be returning to my workplace to begin another 2 week rotation.  I've checked precious little off of my "to do" list, because this particular R&R was dominated primarily by the Stuart Creek 2 wildfire burning just south of our community.

I started the R&R the very day that firefighters and the Fairbanks North Star Borough issued an evacuation watch for our community, and it seems somehow fitting that I am ending the R&R only hours after that same evacuation watch was lifted for my area. 

Most of the work I accomplished around the place this time around was maintenance stuff rather than projects.  I did fill quite a few holes in the dog yard, including some extensive resurfacing in a couple of the pens that form the northern perimeter of the yard.  I'm pleased that I was able to accomplish that. 

Probably the best accomplishment was reorganizing and consolidating my camping gear.  When we actually had to evacuate we found that we had plenty of dog care equipment and supplies, but weren't quite so prepared to care for the human members of the team.  Since Trish was able to return to the house and fetch some stuff it was no major issue, but had the road been closed to inbound traffic as frequently happens during wildfire evacuations, we wouldn't have been nearly so comfortable. 

As I prepare to leave for work, the truck remains packed and parked in the dog yard.  We've proven we can safely load and haul all of the animals on the property in a single trip, and once we get our other trailer back from the fabricator doing some modifications to it, we'll be able to build additional travel capacity that will make it even easier to do so.  Way back last winter I made that my highest priority project for the season.  Unfortunately, the friend and neighbor who is doing the fabrication was also impacted by the evacuation, so that project has been delayed along with all the others.

We live in a fire dependent forest and every few years we find ourselves threatened by wildfire.  This fire actually reduces the threat of a fire encroaching on us from the south, but increased development to the northeast of the house provides reason for some concern.  It's something I'll have to address at some near future time. 

For now, I'm grateful that the fire service crews were able to contain this particular beast and that I can return to work confident that Trish can manage even the worse case scenario while I'm away.  That is a really good feeling.

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