It’s not workable to wear air packs at wildland fires, but you can usually stay out of the worst of the smoke if you’re careful. I wasn’t.
Sunday we responded to a fire that burned into a field and a pine woods. After getting the brush truck stuck (my 4WD success ratio sucks) I ended up in the woods, and underestimated the amount of smoke while working my way to the front of the fire.
It wasn’t too bad … except it appears that one of my many allergies is pine trees, and the smoke was from burning pine wood and needles. I spent all day Monday with a sore throat, raspy breath, wheezing, irritated eyes, and itchy skin. It was like watching a political debate. But I slept through most of it (the allergies, not the debate—well, the debate too), because that’s what Benadryl does to me.
So from a “routine” ground cover fire I got smoke inhalation, while another firefighter had singed hair, and a third a cut head. What lesson do we take from this?
You never know what’s going to go wrong. Not an original lesson, but still.
Not the same fire, Emily took this a few years ago -- I was busy both times.