How to Cover a Western Wildfire

Some levity is always good on this blog, especially before a big weekend. Thanks to a reader for sending this in. Couldn’t find any photos of

One of the most important things is how you dress. The men must wear smoked yellow Nomex shirts and stop shaving the moment they are sent to the fire. They must not shave their faces or wash their Nomex until they are done covering the fire, even if they sleep at home every night. Nomex, like hockey pads, should never be washed during the life of the man or the equipment.

Women must keep their Nomex a spotless bright yellow. All hair and makeup must be perfect.

but can post any someone sends in.

Below is an excerpt:

It is acceptable to use the word “firefighters” when referring to them in ones and twos, but in large numbers they should be referred to as “resources,” as should bulldozers, aircraft and fire trucks. Therefore, when interviewing a fire commander you ask, “Do you have enough resources?” He will tell you he does not. If you find yourself overusing “resources” then substitute “assets.”

Never refer to anything that grows in the path of fire as grass, a bush or a tree. It is known as “fuel.” Dense growth is to be referred to as “fuel beds.” It is acceptable to refer to foliage as “brush,” but all brush is “tinder dry.” (See “Deficit, Federal”)

The massive inferno never burns natural terrain or unoccupied wilderness. Wildfire does not burn trailer homes or mere houses. It burns primarily “multi-million dollar homes.” The blaze never burns a barn, a tool shack or a secluded meth lab. It “incinerates outbuildings.” Don’t cover a wildfire that burns only trees, unless someone in a position of authority describes them as a “precious natural resource.”

In general, when wildfire is not burning multi-million dollar homes it burns only “structures.” When fire comes close to houses or barns, it is a “structure threat.” Fire trucks parked in a suburban loop are performing “structure protection,” but there’s nothing to worry about because they have plenty of resources in the area.

Flames do not have height, they have “length” even when they shoot 100 feet straight in the air. So you might be told by a fire commander that, “We’re seeing flame lengths of 150 feet or more.”

2 thoughts on “How to Cover a Western Wildfire”

  1. Ah yes, kinda like “incidence” instead of “wildfire” or “fire” and an “incident commander” instead of “fire boss”.


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