Sunday, May 02, 2010

Windy spring

Why is a steady wind so demoralizing? I guess it shuts down a lot of the things I want to do this time of year: prescribed fire, long bike rides, camping. I'm not talking a breeze- this is the High Plains, and when it gets cranking, it is stiff. Sustained 20mph, gusts to 30, days on end. Lawn furniture and garbage cans tipped over, trees shedding branches, grit sandblasting along dirt roads. That is why I'm home this weekend, way too strong to burn in SD, ND, NE. It is giving me time to unpack, since we just moved to the Whitney Preserve, a Nature Conservancy property that Karinne is now the assistant manager of. Beautiful area, though a good chunk of it got nuked by the Alabaugh Canyon fire a couple years ago. In fact, the house we are living in is in Alabaugh Canyon, and probably only survived because it didn't burn as hot in the spring-moistened valley. The ridges immediately north have abandoned foundations of houses that did burn, and quite a few new houses built with the insurance money from them.

So thanks to the alternating heavy wind and rain, our fire crew is stuck prepping- running brushcutters and chainsaws, getting cranky from the wind and lack of overtime. Things are rapidly greening up, so spring burn season may end without getting any further burning done. Bummer. Everyone is hoping for a busier season than last year, when we sat around the office for far too long, but who knows what will develop. We try to keep busy, keep a good attitude, but we all like being active on a fire. It doesn't help that our career advancement hinges on experience that can only be gained on fire assignments, and that mostly we rely on the larger overtime paychecks to make a decent living wage.

In the meantime, getting all moved in to the new house, trying to get in better shape, and enjoying spending time with the wife and dog are the priorities. I'm trying to do more sprint workouts, quite hard for me since I'm definitely not a sprinter, but good exercise. The tandem is down for repairs, but I should get the part this week, so when the weather finally cooperates we can get out for some rides around the Hills and Wyoming.