Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Long TIme . . .

So I mentioned in a previous post that I got to visit a Fire Camp with my students. Way Cool experience!!!

The cheerleading coach at the school rounded up a group of volunteers to bake cookies and goodies for the fire fighters. It was a great idea! Four vehicles of students drove down to the Fire Camp to drop off the stuff.

I've never seen anything like it. An entire exit of the highway was closed to public transit to make room for the enormous camp. Our cars had to pass through three security rings guarded by CHiPs (California Highway Patrol, I believe) just to make it to the camp. As we pulled off the highway and down to the main road we saw dozens and dozens of police cars lining both sides of the road. Beyond the squad cars lay van after van of Media Vans. Beyond the vans lay acres of trailers solely devoted to ending the Fire.

After we parked and delivered the cookies a Public Affairs officer offered to take us for a tour of the camp. Of course we agreed.

He showed us a trailer devoted to organizing all planes and helicopters over the fire. A trailer devoted to the governor's office and their response to the fire. A trailer assembled just to print current maps of the fire situation. A trailer maintained for paying all the fire personnel. Their were additional trailers for the Fire Fighters to sleep in. They were kept totally dark with only a few black lights to see and air conditioning running 24/7. Massive trailers were set aside for showers and washing of the fire fighters clothes. Trailers ranged as far as we could see.

After a wonderful hour long tour of the facilities the local Fox News affiliate interviewed the students. They did a great job in their responses.

A final few facts about the fire:

- 8 days in and the state of California had spent $33,000,000 in battling it.
- Fire teams spent 5 days on the line with food delivered by helicopter.
- Each state of the union sent people to help battle the blaze.
- The fire was one of the biggest three fires in LA County in the last 20 years.
- Two fire fighters died battling the blaze.
- The blaze was set intentionally.

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