#85, The Nevada Burn Queen

I don’t know about you, but in my career some things just stand out like they happened yesterday. This story happened 22 years ago but it I still remember some odd details and it still makes me smile and miss “the good old days.” I made some good friends and work relationships on this fire. There are important leadership lessons that I learned on this fire too. One lesson I learned was how to be valuable to your boss and organization. Another lesson was to learn to be flexible, quick on your feet and improvise in order to be successful. I think this story will demonstrate those leadership attributes and maybe one thing not to do as well. Hope you enjoy the story.

Episode 85, The Nevada Burn Queen, BobbieOnFire.com, November 5th, 2022

8 thoughts on “#85, The Nevada Burn Queen

  1. Jumpers are often launched on the heels of a thunderhead or in a large area of new starts to grab anything that is not staffed. Sometimes, other resources are on the way, and in the confusion of a fire bust…they get ordered by dispatch to go ahead and jump something that might be covered.

    The firefighting you described in Nevada is seriously fun. There are many stories similar to your experience from Alaska. Two firefighters take different flanks…swatting out the fire with a Spruce bough…they don’t see each other for two or three days…and they finally meet up, drive the Golden Spike, and call a multi-thousand acre out.


  2. Bobbie –  Quick comment on this tale. There were times (late-’80s?) I
    would listen to radio calls when my guy was assigned on fires for a long
    time. I’ve heard some well-salted lingo over the years.  Lack of sleep
    mixed with nasty fires tends to create foul language. Don’t loose any
    sleep over that.  (Some of those times Clay wasn’t even in-state, but I
    missed the hub-bub. Other times when he was local I would get a little
    “gift” when hearing his number/voice. This was before cell phones and
    regular calls home.) My husband was the forester/FF in the family, but
    my career also was out of the normal female area (County Extension
    Agent), so there were times I ran a’gin male egos who sometimes tried to
    intimidate. I can sort of relate. I don’t think anyone in Resources
    would dare to label any effective male DB with limited assets doing
    burn-outs on a big fire “The Burn-King” – even as a joke; more like
    Fire-Master.                                P.S.  Never saw a drip-torch
    that CLEAN!!! 😂Judy D


    1. Thanks for commenting Judy. The culture of the wildland fire service is surely unique. I had to swim upstream for sure but I had a great career regardless. And I’m jealous of you. I would have loved to be a county agent. I was too intimidated to get a masters when I was young. By the time I finished my masters degree, my path was set. Take care Judy.


  3. I learned about using a juniper branch as a fire swatter when I worked on the Heppner Ranger District in Northeast Oregon in the 1980s. We even burned Rx units in the lower elevations of the district that were juniper and sage by what we called swatter burning. One person would light and a couple people with juniper swatters would follow the lighter and swat out the fire to create a black line. No hand or dozer line required.

    Smoke jumpers from the Redmond Air Center would bring gunny sacks when they came to Heppner.

    I have a shiny Drip Torch similar to yours. It was a retirement gift when I retired from the Chemult Ranger District. No light though, just the wick on top. The District AFMO spent about 20 hours polishing it with Jeweler’s rouge.

    Liked by 1 person

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