A Few Questions And Answers About The Fire

By Linda Martin

Lots of people here have questions about the fires, and the fire fighters working in our town are helpful in sharing information that both educates us about how fires are controlled, and quells our fears. Here are a few questions, and answers.

Q: Why is there a new fire on the hillside above the airport, and why aren’t the helicopters dumping water on it?

A: It appears that a crew is burning underbrush along one of the old logging roads. The helicopters won’t want to interfere with this operation, which is intended to provide a fire break to keep the Little Grider Fire from spreading to inhabited areas in the forest near Happy Camp.

Q: Why aren’t there helicopters working constantly to put out the fire?

A: The heavy smoke during morning hours makes helicopter use impossible. When inversion lifts and smoke dissipates at around 3pm, the helicopters have a small window of opportunity to get into the air and work on dowsing the flames.

Q: Why are so many fire fighters standing around in town while our forest is burning?

A: Nobody works around the clock. They need to rest at times. There are hundreds of fire fighters here, most of whom are in the forest working where we can’t see them. For example some are involved in surveying forest roads for possible fire breaks. Caterpillars have been working to widen roads. In one area the terrian was so steep, a cat got stuck and it took two others to pull it out. And many of those crews we’re seeing, waiting around town now, are positioned here to protect our homes if the fire gets too close.

Q: Why are there no airplanes dropping fire retardant?

A: Probably because the terrain makes it unsafe. We are lucky to have the Klamath River to pull water from, and many locations are only accessible by helicopter. The big choppers including the Sky Crane can drop 2500 gallons in seconds, and are an effective way to stop the fire.

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